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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
2
votes
1answer
164 views

origin of western names for eating utensils

Did Americans introduce western words for forks, spoons and knives?
5
votes
1answer
303 views

The は in the phrase そこはかとなく

I just came across the phrase そこはかとなく, which weblio translates as: 特にどこがどうと言うわけではないが、雰囲気として感じられる様子などを表す表現。 Expresses the idea of feeling something as a mood, and not for any particular reason. This ...
0
votes
0answers
53 views

Is there any continuity behind these verb endings?

In Japanese the seems to be a lot of reoccurring verb endings. Some basic ones are fairly easy to understand, like 動く vs 動かす, here it looks like あ plus す is used to indicate acting upon something ...
24
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is a place that sells さけ a さかや?

Is it known why a さかや normally has a か, rather than a け like in さけ? Are there many other -や constructions for stores that change the spelling of the word added to?
1
vote
1answer
204 views

Is the 'wa' in wasabi and wakame related?

Wasabi and wakame seem to have different Japanese characters and also different Chinese ideograms. My first guess is that the 'wa' in wasabi and wakame is coincidence. But. Are they related words? ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

How did 賃 get its 慣用音 reading?

賃 has the 慣用音 reading ちん, as in 家賃{やちん}. I understand that a lot of 慣用音 readings arise from interpreting the phonetic wrongly (for example 消耗{しょうこう} vs 消耗{しょうもう}), but in this case how did 賃 receive ...
5
votes
1answer
215 views

Why is the Japanese term for grammatical case 「格」? How did this translation come to be?

From Google's definition of 格: きまり。法則。標準。  「格式・格言・合格・別格・破格・規格・本格・古格・適格・律令格式(りつりょうきゃくしき)」 《名・造》地位。身分。程度。  「格が違う」 方形に組みあわせた材。  「骨格・格子(こうし)・格天井(ごうてんじょう)」 くる。いたる。とおる。きわめる。  「格物致知」 ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Looking for meaning of 「入道雲」

I'm currently reading a Japanese book on clouds, and am hoping someone can shed some light on the exact meaning of a cloud type called 「入道雲」. The English translation would be "cumulonimbus", ...
5
votes
2answers
446 views

Why are segments of a TV show, etc., called コーナー?

I've heard the word used in phrases like 質問コーナー, but I haven't heard this usage of "corner" in English. Why is it used this way?
0
votes
2answers
7k views

Why is watermelon written in hiragana, whereas melon is written in katakana?

For the two words, watermelon and melon: watermelon → 西瓜(すいか) melon → メロン Watermelon uses hiragana, whereas melon uses katakana. Why is this set up this way? Is there a special rule that dictates ...
3
votes
1answer
205 views

Origin of 「~ にとって」?

I just encountered the 「~ にとって」 construction, as in: 「私にとって家族は大切です。」- "Family is important to me". I think I understand what it's supposed to mean. However, I couldn't find any information about the ...
-3
votes
2answers
88 views

歓迎しましょう vs 歓迎します vs ようこそ

What is the difference between: 歓迎しましょう (Kangei shimashou) 歓迎します (Kangei shimasu) ようこそ (Yōkoso) They all mean "welcome" but in which occasions should we use which more appropriately. ...
0
votes
0answers
95 views

Understanding japanese verb suffixes

I recently learned the meaning of the verb suffixes す, む and ぶ (respectively to do, to seem like or to indicate volition, to act like). I would have two questions : Does every verb ending with す can ...
4
votes
1answer
342 views

「春じゃもの」の「じゃもの」はどういう意味?

What does the じゃもの in 春じゃもの mean? The phrase is a koto song title, so I can't give much context. I think my teacher said it meant something like "clearly", or "the essence of". But I can't remember, ...
8
votes
2answers
299 views

What is the origin of っこない?

There's a construction V+っこない which means something like "have no way of doing V". お前には分かりっこないでしょう。 There's no way you would understand. Is it known what this construction originates from? ...
9
votes
1answer
276 views

Where does the -a stem come from with auxiliary-constructed transitive/intransitive verb pairs if the base verb is a 二段活用 (or カ行変格活用)?

It seems to be generally understood that transitive/intransitive verb pairs, when they are not a 四段活用 and a 二段活用 that share the same 終止形, were created by taking a base verb, whether transitive or ...
1
vote
1answer
145 views

What is the etymology of ~らぐ verbs?

What is the etymology of verbs like [安]{やす}らぐ, [和]{やわ}らぐ, [薄]{うす}らぐ, [平]{たひ}らぐ, etc.? I know they all come from adjectives, but where does the 〜ぐ come from? Maybe [揺]{ゆ}らぐ could also fit into this ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

Meaning of キリ型 (can’t find in dictionaries)

Saw this term in a manga and can’t find a good explanation of what it is. The text says ドライバー(キリ型)で底をキレイにするわ (底 refers to the sole of a shoe) However, the image seems to resemble more an awl than ...
1
vote
1answer
98 views

How are 造語 like ググる or スタバる used and by whom?

I'm trying to find out more about innovative verbs that come from loanwords, and i have a couple questions about them: Are they used by older people/in formal situations? Or are they really slang? I'm ...
1
vote
0answers
129 views

What do the names 不二夫 and 不二雄 mean?

I am from Hong Kong. I know Chinese language. I know very little about Japnanese language. My question is - What do the names 不二夫 and 不二雄 mean? Do they mean "loyal man/hero"? Links to ...
1
vote
1answer
178 views

What does 聞く actually represent (if it means both ask and listen)?

Usually, when words have multiple meanings (/translations) they're all just translations/branches of the same idea (eg. 頼む is listed as '1. to request; to beg; to ask ​2. to call; to order; to reserve​...
0
votes
0answers
117 views

Why do some endings have no verbs for them? I.e. ず・ぷ・ゆ

There seem to be a limited number of u-row characters that do not have verbs associated with them, and I'm curious why some of them do not exist. There once were ふ verbs, but there are no ぷ、ず、ゆ、づ ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

What does 「フトアゴヒゲ」mean in 「フトアゴヒゲトカゲ」("Central Bearded Dragon​" lizard)?

I'm guessing ヒゲ means hair, which makes sense since the lizard has "bearded" in its name. Not sure about the rest of the フトアゴ.
1
vote
1answer
123 views

Where did 初めて and 初めまして come from, if not from 初める(はじめる not そめる)?

Did 初める(はじめる) used to exist as a verb? It's not present today except as a frequent tripping stone for kanji autocomplete. However, the 初めまして word's まして seems to imply that this was a verb that could ...
2
votes
1answer
159 views

What's the etymology of まほし?

What's the etymology of まほし? Considering it goes after the 未然形, is it something like む -> ま (未然形) + [欲]{ほ}し, or is it a totally different etymology altogether? Thanks in advance.
6
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there a list of components all the kanjis are made of?

I started to make a list of all the "components" (I don't know how to call them) all the joyo kanjis are made of, for me to be easier to memorize all the kanjis (I memorize them by ...
1
vote
1answer
159 views

Etymology of 轢く

I am trying, without luck, to figure out the etymology of the word 轢{ひ}く. Note that I'm not talking about the kanji here, but the usage of ひく to carry this specific meaning. My dictionary, スーパー大辞林, ...
1
vote
0answers
109 views

What is the origin and meaning of the street names 一年坂, 二年坂 and 三年坂 in Higashiyama, Kyoto?

Obviously "1-year hill", etc., but what is the context of that? And sometimes we see it spelled with 念 (nen) or 寧 (nei) instead of 年 (nen). Why is that, and which one would be correct?
1
vote
1answer
190 views

Connotations of 身もふたもないこと

My question is about the expression "身もふたもないこと". I know that "身もふたもない" means blunt or point-blank, but is there any additional connotation such as "stupid" or "silly&...
3
votes
1answer
103 views

Origin of seemingly opposite figurative meanings of 浮く

I've recently come across the following two definitions of 浮く in two different stories: Being cheerful, happy (in context the character was happy about spending time with friend and telling her ...
1
vote
1answer
84 views

Where does the ます形 masu form comes from? I noticed that the す conjugates like the Kyoto dialect [duplicate]

I really can't figure out where the masu form comes from. I thought it might be from kobun volitional む + causative す but that's -(a)ます not -(i)ます. Both conjugations of ません and ましょう are identical to ...
1
vote
1answer
181 views

波比不部保 ([B] sounds) → はひふへほ ([h] or [f] sounds)

Hiragana (平仮名 or 平假名) has its cursive form originated from the Chinese cursive form 草書. You can read from https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%B9%B3%E4%BB%AE%E5%90%8D. Also https://www.hana300.com/aakana....
7
votes
1answer
275 views

Is 仕方 a particular case of the pattern V連用形 + 方?

There is a pattern to express the way of doing things. First comes a verb in the 連用形 form, and after that comes the word 方{かた}. For example: 食べ + 方 → 食べ方 (the way of eating) 読み + 方 → 読み方 (the way of ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Is Japanese に related to the Chinese character 仁?

Is Japanese に (pronounced as "ni") related to the Chinese character 仁 (pronounced as "ren" in Chinese mandarin)? Does the に have the root from the Chinese character 仁? They both ...
1
vote
1answer
282 views

Why are there so many three kana kunyomi verbs beginning with あ?

謝る、扱う、現れる、表す、諦める、争う、改める、… Why are there so many verbs beginning with あ and with three kana kunyomi? Is there some etymological reason for this? I can't imagine this is completely incidental, though ...
34
votes
3answers
3k views

Kanji for native Japanese concepts: Kun'yomi spanning multiple morphemes

There are a few words, which are written with Kanji imported from China, but where the intended native Japanese meaning would prefer a different choice of Kanji. My favourite examples are 雷 vs. 神鳴り (...
3
votes
1answer
458 views

Why is 「パッと」 part Katakana and part Hiragana?

I have run across this onomatopoeia twice now in music lyrics: 打上花火 by DAOKO × 米津玄師: 「パッと光って咲いた 花火を見てた」 GHOST by 星街すいせい: 「パッと弾けた感情に」 Having seen this occur twice now, I felt it was safe to assume ...
16
votes
1answer
3k views

Origin of ~なければ ならない

The expression ~なければ ならない if I learned correctly means "must not not do ..." as in: 日本語を勉強しなければなりません。 You must not not learn Japanese. (i.e. you need to learn Japanese) However, taken on face value ...
7
votes
1answer
519 views

Why does あらぬ方向 mean "a different direction"?

「いつになく母親は、 「もう、晩ごはんはないですからね」 と父親に強くいった。そういわれて父親は、黙ってあらぬ方向をみていた。それから一週間というものは、ずーっと暗かった。」(無印良女 by 群ようこ) "Unlike her usual self, my mother said strongly to my father, "There won't be any more ...
4
votes
1answer
350 views

Why are 关 and 复 half-width in Japanese?

关 and 复 are the simplified Chinese forms of 關 and 復複覆, respectively. Usually simplified Hanzi that don't exist as kanji don't get any special treatment and Japanese fonts might not even display them, ...
1
vote
1answer
101 views

What does 豪 mean?

What does 豪 mean in word 豪州 (Australia). I wanted to know the etymology of 豪 (I know what does 州 part means). Also I wanted to know if it is pronounced as "Gōshū" or not. (I made a mistake ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Etymology and meaning of ukemi (受け身?) as part of 合気道

I practice 合気道. We do a lot of break falling that we call ukemi. I was led to believe that it meant safe escape from a technique. However, I started looking at the Japanese and found I only had part ...
6
votes
1answer
287 views

etymology: 紅 for black as in 紅茶

Someone recently posted a question about お茶 and whether it's correct to use お茶 to describe something like 紅茶 instead. Knowing that 紅 usually means 'crimson', was wondering what the etymology for 紅茶's ...
0
votes
0answers
72 views

What is the etymology of さて, and why are the kanji 偖・扠・扨 used for it?

This is a relatively simple question: what is the etymology of さて, and why are the kanji 偖・扠・扨 used for it?
23
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the etymology behind したっけ

僕だけがいない街 anime shows the children saying したっけ! translated as 'See ya!' and other terms, these are from Hokkaido dialect. I guess you can switch したっけ to other forms to say 'See ya': じゃあまた また明日 Anyway,...
2
votes
1answer
114 views

What is the meaning of 礼楽?

I was checking the definition of 堂 in my online dictionary (大辞林) when I came across the word 礼楽 in: 堂 → 客に接したり,礼楽を行なったりする所。== Hall → a place where you can interact with customers and perform ritual ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

What's the etymological linkage of 「眉{まゆ}」and「繭{まゆ}」?

I found the etymology of 「眉{まゆ}」 from 眉/まゆ - 語源由来辞典 眉は目の上にあることから、「マノウヘ(目の上)」もしくは「マウヘ(目上)」の意味と考えられる。 ただし、古くは「マヨ」と言い、「マヨ」が音変化して「まゆ」となっている。 そのため、「マノウヘ」「マウヘ」が直接音変化したものではなく、「目の上」の意味を表す言葉に「マヨ」があり、...
8
votes
6answers
17k views

The etymology and meaning of Oss, Osu, Ossu

I am training at a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy, and their use of the word "Oss" is ubiquitous. I have asked and also answered the question What is the etymology and meaning of Oss? in the Martial ...
6
votes
1answer
191 views

What was the movement of tea leaves called before it was called ジャンピング?

I recently learned that apparently the phenomenon of tea leaves moving up and down in very hot water is called ジャンピング (See example videos). This surprises me a bit as I would certainly expect that ...
2
votes
1answer
135 views

What does こき mean?

I've seen こき being used in expressions such as in こき使う (with the meaning of work someone hard) and 嘘こき (used to refer to someone who lies a lot, apparently). I haven't found this expression's meaning ...

1
2 3 4 5
16