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Questions tagged [etymology]

語源. The study of the origin of words and the historical development of their meanings. Sometimes used for kanji as well; we currently don't have a separate tag for character origins.

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What is a "P学生"?

A story I'm reading has a character referring to a girl as a "P学生", and I've been completely unable to find a definition for what it is. The girl is an elementary school student so it can't ...
omegabodega's user avatar
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1 answer
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In Masaoka Shiki's haiku 千年の煤もはらはず仏だち, is 仏だち intended, or a mistake?

The text of the haiku is 千年の / 煤もはらはず / 仏だち. Is -dachi in 仏だち hotoke-dachi intended, with the same meaning as 達 -tachi, or is this an error in the transcription?
jogloran's user avatar
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etymology of 排球

球 is literally "ball", and Takoboto includes "line up" and "expel" as some literal meanings for 排, and I could buy either one of those as descriptions of the game "...
spazquest's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
169 views

遊星{ゆうせい} meaning planet?

In Yugioh 5D's, the protagonist's name is Yuusei (遊星). All Yugioh protagonists have Yuu (遊) in their name, because they're good at games (e.g. the first protag's name is 遊戯{ゆうぎ}, meaning games, and ...
chausies's user avatar
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1 answer
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Etymology of ガン詰め

I am not sure what is the origin of the word ガン詰め. Google search tells me that it means 徹底的に追求すること but I cannot find it in any known dictionary (?). My guess is that the ガン part means an eye (眼) and ...
John Davies's user avatar
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2 answers
226 views

Does 傘 come from 笠 since they have the same reading?

I recently realized that 傘 was read かさ, just like 笠. Is that a coincidence or did the first evolve from the latter in some way?
Saegusa's user avatar
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Are there any Japanese surnames referring to the beech tree?

I am interested to know whether any habitational surnames (or toponyms that could viably be used as surnames) in Japan are related to the Japanese beech tree (ぶな). I have found surname etymologies ...
CNV's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
342 views

The history of ◯ being used to denote zero

What is the history behind ◯? Can someone shed some light on when it started getting used to represent zero in numbers and the like. For a kanji, it is quite peculiar as it looks like a kanjified 0. ...
Saegusa's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
570 views

"Ka no taikoku shin" = China? [Rurouni Kenshin Live Action]

The Rurouni Kenshin Live Action movie (2012) is set in 1878 Tokyo Japan. In it, a high-ranking general (Yamagata) talks about how opium (アヘン) (which is spreading through japan) might destroy Japan as ...
chausies's user avatar
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Etymology of のぞむ and/or のぞく?

What is the etymology of the verbs 望む(のぞむ) and 覗く(のぞく)? For reference, here are the (top) Japanese dictionary definitions. There are multiple for each one, but I only copied the top one for each. のぞ・く ...
molly's user avatar
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2 answers
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Etymology of 甘え

I'm making an assumption that because it's the same kanji and kunyomi, 甘え is the same historical base as 甘い 'sweet', and so the meaning, etymologically, is literally something like 'be sweet on ...
chacotaco's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
359 views

Etymology of ダンボール

This question has been on my mind for quite a while. The fact that ダンボール (corrugated cardboard) is written in katakana infers that it's a 外来語. However, it can also be written as 段ボール, and I have no ...
Evelyn's user avatar
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どうにも、どうにか、いかにも、どうか、どうもの中にパターンが潜在していますか?

いつも(どうにも、どうにか、いかにも、どうか、どうも)という種類の単語を聞いたり読んだりすると、パターンがいかにもあると感じます。 どう思われますか? 具体的に言えば私が話しているパターンは見かけ上共通の語源を持っていて1つの助詞を変えて1つ追加したり2つ追加したりすると意味が異なることを理解したいと思っています
HAMDI ABDERRAHMENE's user avatar
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What's a prototypical example of モラハラ (moral harassment)?

I'm not exactly sure what モラハラ is. All I can tell is that it's strongly associated with workplace bullying. But I don't really understand how "moral harassment" might be a thing. Is it kind ...
chausies's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
118 views

Is there a reason behind the structure of all the adverbs like しっかり、ぐっすり、はっきり?

I am not sure how to formulate my question but while learning Japanese vocabulary I could not help but notice that many adverbs seem to have a similar structure. For example, しっかり、ぐっすり、はっきり but there ...
UpQwark's user avatar
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2 answers
180 views

Do 果物/野菜 follow the scientific definition (e.g. an eggplant is a 果物), or the casual definition (e.g. an eggplant is a 野菜)?

In English, fruit and vegetable have actual scientific meanings, which make eggplant, tomato and zucchini fruits. However, most people just ignore the actual definition and like to just say those are ...
chausies's user avatar
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What is the etymology of onani [duplicate]

In the Book of Genesis chapter 38, Judah had a son named Onan. Onan's story of spilling his seed, leads to the term Onanism. Onanism is an interpretation of Onan's story. Regardless of whether there ...
user1416486's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
120 views

Origin of the use of ~代 in prices

The usage of 代{だい} to mean "replacement" or "era" both seem to have an equivalent in Chinese but the meaning of "payment" seems unique to Japanese. Is this just an ...
acumandr's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
116 views

Understanding ハッタリ in context

Lyrics for the first chorus of Overdose by なとり are as follows: Overdose 君とふたり やるせない日々 解像度の悪い夢を見たい Overdose 君とふたり 甘いハッタリ Don't stop it music, darling I'm trying to understand the etymology and nuance ...
Karl Knechtel's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
115 views

Common root among の~ verbs?

This is probably a bit of a stretch but I've noticed that a lot of verbs starting with の have some sense of something going (or being) upward or outward. Between Jisho and Wiktionary I found the ...
acumandr's user avatar
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1 answer
106 views

Is my understanding of 太陰太極 (たいいんたいきょく) correct?

I saw the term in the song 螺鈿の骨、氷雨 (Graphic - Babuchan songs are graphic in general). The line I saw it in - 太陰大極 (たいいんたいきょく)  而二不二 (ににふに) The context - 煩悩即菩提 (ぼんのうそくぼだい) 生死即涅槃 (せいしそくねはん) 入不二 (いりふじ) ...
Star Peep's user avatar
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1 answer
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Omitted で or があって in set phrase used in tag この指とまれ; apparently may/can be in 錠剤腐る脳 [closed]

The phrase この指とまれ is interpreted as a phrase to stop the tagger and gather runners near the person who said the phrase. I searched it up and apparently it comes from the tradition of 指切り (promising; ...
Star Peep's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Etymology of the biblical イブ/イヴ as opposed to エバ, and how does the former seem to have supplanted the latter?

Edit: Just as a heads-up, some folks have said that Eve was called エバ in the Meiji period. I was fully aware of that before I asked this question. I've added relevant translations which are not ...
Vun-Hugh Vaw's user avatar
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1 answer
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Why is an archaic word for gambler, これしゃ, just これ(をする)人

Is there any context for why これ referred to gambling, like an euphemism, any history? I have no idea about the history of gambling in Japan.
Star Peep's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
158 views

Parsing of word components/construction in Japanese [duplicate]

Is 所為's components supposed to make it parsed as "thing that is wrought from a place"? Is 勉強 similar to 所為 in that way with the parsing of its components? What are the (all the) other ways (...
Star Peep's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
146 views

Meanings and etymology of the word キザ

There's a character in this game whose bio describes him as a "キザでお調子者な優男", which I currently understand to mean "pretentious, kind man who tends to get carried away easily." ...
omegabodega's user avatar
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0 answers
127 views

What is with words like 天気 and ご機嫌 having meanings translated with a "good"?

I think the reason why they can mean "good weather" and "good mood" is because they are such familiar expressions that people know what they refer to without their other part. The ...
Star Peep's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
201 views

Origin of よろしく's other meanings

The other meanings I'm referring to are from noun + よろしく (as if) and よろしく ... べし (by all means). I wonder why it also lacks some meanings from よく, as よろしい is the respectful form of よい, I think. I ...
Star Peep's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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日(ひ) は大昔からdayの意味持っていたのか

日本は漢人に接触し漢字と漢語を輸入した前に大和言葉はもう存在していたから、きっとその時にもうdayを指す語はもうあった。現代の視点から見ると、和語のdayの意味の言葉は「日(ひ)」なんですけど(例えば その日、あの日、出会った日)、これも漢語の影響なんですか? 詳細に言うと、昔の大和言葉の一日を指す語は「日(か)」だったと思うのは正しいですか。一ヶ月の中の日付も(二日ふつか、三日みっか等)、暦(...
dvx2718's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
178 views

What is the history of the word "Sentika"?

A relatively recent independent Tokusatsu series, Sentika F8ABA6 Jisariz, has caught my attention, specifically due to the series' title in its original Japanese, "華衛士F8ABA6ジサリス". A ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
529 views

Is the english xoxo related to japanese メロメロ

So I stumbled over the Japanese word メロメロ (mero mero) wich is often translated as being in love. I was wondering if it is related to the english xoxo (hugs and kisses) or is this just a coincidence?
Bellian's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
239 views

Why is the kunyomi reading commonly used for 4 and 7, but not other numbers?

It's interesting that the numbers 4 and 7 are often read using with kunyomi (よん, なな), even in many cases where the other numbers (1,2,3,5,6,8,9,10) would be read with onyomi. For example, 34 is read ...
Aqualone's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
505 views

Etymology of 鞄 (かばん)

I recently learned of the Korean word 가방 (gaban), which is supposedly derived from 鞄 (かばん), but it seems there isn't much of a solid trail after that. From what I can tell, it might be related to the ...
cmw's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
694 views

The origin of 首にする

I've come across an interesting idiom in the following sentence: もしも私が社長だったら、あの人を首にすると思います。 If I were the company president, I would fire that person. What is the origin of the idiom 首にする?
Enguroo's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
235 views

Why is svaha in Japanese sowaka?

I know this is a more Chinese centered question, but, if svaha sounds more like suwaha, why is it transliterated sowaka? Or more straight to the point, why is it that the Chinese word sowaka might ...
Star Peep's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
170 views

Is there a particular meaning or origin to the last name 宇多田?

Japanese last names often refer to some type of location or geographical feature, but in this case I am not certain if the name has an abstract, metaphorical, or literal meaning. "Many rice ...
Qwokker's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
72 views

すっからかん, あっけらかん, and the supposed (adverb) suffix かん

すっからかん is usually theorized to come from すっかりから, or a corruption/change in pronunciation from a weird amalgamation of a Chinese phrase. However, あっけらかん is an adverb, and while あっけら has similar origins ...
Star Peep's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
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Does みな have an origin, or at least one that can be theorized about?

I personally think this question is self explanatory, so I'm going to add context. I searched up the etymology for 皆, not the kanji but its reading, and didn't find anything for it. It may be み with a ...
Star Peep's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
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Why nominalize words instead of using them directly as verbs, adverbs or adjectives? [duplicate]

My question is focused particularly on verbs ending in て form nominalised with の and adverbs ending in く also nominalised with の: かねての instead of かねる 近くの instead of 近くある/近い My understanding of nouns ...
Star Peep's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
158 views

Etymology of でしょう?

Does anyone know what でしょう originally comes from? And are those forms ever used nowadays?
user57315's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
127 views

Etymology of 目茶目茶

Does anyone know how the kanji for "eye" and "tea" came to be joined to mean "disorderly"? (I am a beginning student and cannot read advanced monolingual dictionaries.) ...
NattoYum's user avatar
  • 418
2 votes
2 answers
511 views

What is the implied subject in 夏から秋にかける?

Consider 夏から秋にかけて台風がよく来ます。 Typhoons frequently come from summer to autumn. I know that 夏から秋にかけて effectively means "from summer to autumn". But more literally I assume it means "from ...
George's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
1k views

The actual meaning of 別に (べつに)

Though this question has been asked a lot, I do not find any explanation with the literal meaning and the logic behind the expression (with 別 referring to "distinction"). As a result, it's ...
Gyabu_7's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
250 views

Why does 中止 also mean to cancel

中止 literally means to stop halfway (中で止まる). 中止 in Chinese also only means to terminate something already started. How did 中止 get the meaning of cancelling something not started at all in Japanese?
Qinshi Wang's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
271 views

What does ごめん come from?

I'm trying to understand what ごめん comes from. From the following questions: Does ごめん really mean sorry? Use of なさい in ごめんなさい What's the difference between なさい and てください / でください? I've compiled a ...
yk7's user avatar
  • 221
3 votes
1 answer
624 views

What is the W for Wワーク

Just as the title, what is the W in Wワーク? There is also those U-turn I-turn.....etc Could you elaborate why is it just a single leter and what is the meaning of it?
K a r L's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
2k views

How is Tsuyuri Kumin's name (五月七日くみん) read with 3 characters when it's made up of 4 kanji?

From the Chuunibyou anime, Kumin's last name is Tsuyuri (3 characters), but written as 五月七日 (4 kanji characters). How can this be? At first, I thought it might just be a chuuni thing, where you write ...
chausies's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
113 views

輪廻's meanings (cycle) where does it come from?

Last weekish or so I made a question about てを verb, and a person told me it was a duplicate question, and that 輪廻 in the case my question was being asked was transitive. So I searched on wiktionary ...
Star Peep's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
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Does the いは in 或いは come from any term, and if so, how is it/was it used?

I was curious about いは in 或いは because ある is in its plain form however I can't find anything on it. I don't have any physical dictionary, either nor knowledge of if this is archaic Japanese
Star Peep's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
140 views

Where does the abbreviation こ, apparently meaning to be in a state, come from?

I asked this question because I saw a pun in the song デンパラダイム where the producer tuned a lyric stating マッハ木っ端ミジンコ土っ管! I initially translated it as 'in the earthen pipes the negligibly tiny water fleas ...
Star Peep's user avatar
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