Questions tagged [meaning]

意味. The meaning of words or phrases within certain contexts, especially when it does not seem to match the standard definition.

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What does -komu (~込む) at the end of a word mean?

There are loads of words in Japanese which end in 込{こ}む, like 吸{す}い込む, 読{よ}み込む, 入{はい}り込む, 打{う}ち込む, 売{う}り込む, 送{おく}り込む, 押{お}し込む. How does adding ~込む change the meaning? What is the meaning that links ...
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Why does 今度【こんど】 mean "next time"?

The word 今度【こんど】, though its literal meaning is "this time" is in my experience used pretty heavily to refer to tbe next time or some unspecified point in the future. For example: 今度【こんど】こそ一緒【いっしょ】...
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What is the difference between "verb+て+みる" and "verb+(よ)う+とする"?

In Japanese there are words which mean "to try something or attempt at doing something", e.g. 試す, 試みる and つとめる. However, at the same time we also have two grammatical constructions "...
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Is it ok to use 電車 for non-electric trains?

電車 has the kanji for "electric" in it, but is it more or less ok to use it even for non-electric trains, such as steam trains? I saw a steam-powered train being used as the picture for that word in ...
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29 votes
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How can I tell if a Japanese person's given name is male or female?

I am hoping that there may be some particular kanji and/or sounds used in determining if a persons given name is male or female.
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What does さあ (saa) mean?

I have seen this term used a lot in many different ways. 「さあ、忘れましょうその未来が」 saa, wasuremashou sono mirai ga — in this sense, I assume it means "come". But I have also seen it used as 「でもさあ」 demo saa — ...
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Adjectives functioning both as イ- and ナ-adjective

This question has made me think about the class of adjectives, which can function both as イ- and as ナ-adjective, e.g. 大きい 大きな 小さい 小さな 真っ白い 真っ白な (etc.) 細かい 細かな 暖かい 暖かな 四角い 四角な (etc.) 柔らかい ...
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Making sense of transitive usage of 行く and 来る - 「を行く」 and 「を来る」

I think it's known that some intransitive verbs can take を particle and be used as transitive verbs such as for example 「私のことを分かってくれない」. While using 分かる transitively would require specific scenarios ...
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Why does 皮肉 mean "irony"?

I gather that 皮肉 can literally mean "skin-meat." I also see that one definition for 皮 is "mask (hiding one's true nature);  seeming." So perhaps 皮肉 can be understood as "hiding the real meat," which ...
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What is the meaning of のか and how does it differ from か?

What is the meaning of のか in the following sentences? Does it have the same meaning as のですか? 漢字はどう正しく書くのか、どう正しく読むのか、彼らは時々迷います。 参加するのか、参加しないのか、ここではっきり返事しなさい。 Also, I have found sentences of the same ...
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what is the difference between ごとに and おきに?

Both ごとに and おきに appear to mean "repeatedly at intervals". What is the difference between these two expressions?
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22 votes
3 answers
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が and に interchangeability and difference in meaning

Consider these sentences: だれ{が・に}これが出来るか だれ{が・に}日本語が分からないか When both が and に are acceptable, what is their difference in meaning and practical usage?
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What is the 中 in ダウンロード中?

I was downloading an update for a phone game I set in Japanese and on the screen it said 「ダウンロード中」and I don’t understand the use of 中. Middle? In the middle of downloading?
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Meaning of ぬ added to 連用形 / masu-stem, as in 風立ちぬ

What does the ぬ at the end of 立ち specify? I can't find a verb that is just 立ちぬ, is this some kind of special form? Can this be done with other verbs as well? 風立ちぬ, for reference, is Miyazaki's new ...
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19 votes
2 answers
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What is the difference between [友達]{とも・だち} and [友人]{ゆう・じん}?

From a quick google search, they both refer to friend. Are they completely identical or is there any difference between [友達]{とも・だち} and [友人]{ゆう・じん}?
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Why is a baby called 赤ちゃん?

Why is a baby called 赤ちゃん? The term means red. Is the term "red" specific? Can the term refer to baby animals as well?
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19 votes
2 answers
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What does the nakaguro (・) between these two words mean?

The first sentence on the Mac OS X article on the Japanese version of Wikipedia reads: Mac OS X(マック オーエス テン)は、アップルが[開発]{かいはつ}・[販売]{はんばい}する、Macintoshコンピュータ[用]{よう}の[現行]{げんこう}オペレーティングシステム (OS) である。 ...
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19 votes
1 answer
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Difference between 下る、下りる、下がる?

I cannot, for the love of my life, understand the difference between 下る{くだる} 下りる{おりる} 下がる{さがる} Don't they all mean the same, basically? Is there a difference, and if yes, how could I proceed to get ...
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19 votes
1 answer
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Passive form - The exact difference between を and が

I've seen this question asked before, but i feel the answer didn't quite answer all my questions, so here goes. Now, I am rather sure that this: ケーキが食べられた Means: The cake was eaten. (by ...
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19 votes
2 answers
6k views

I am struggling with the sometimes conflicting uses of 先

Rikaisama's definition of 先 includes meanings like previous; prior; former; some time ago. However it also includes meanings such as front; ahead; the future; destination. I am struggling to make ...
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Japanese don't learn kanji meaning only readings? Does it make sense for a kanji to have a key meaning to identify it?

As I understand it works like this. By the time Japanese kids enter first grade they have more or less decent vocabulary of words they know. So when kanjis are taught I can't even imagine how to tell ...
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18 votes
3 answers
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How do Japanese understand "non-standard" words without looking at kanji?

This question seems so "obvious" that there might be a duplicate but could not find any. Anyway, while I try to think how to better rephrase the title, let me explain briefly what I mean. I'll give ...
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18 votes
1 answer
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How did 革 "leather" come to mean newness?

How did the character for "leather" - [革]{かわ / カク} - come to also convey the meaning for "newness"? 広辞苑 lists one of the definitions (under かく) as あらたまること, あらためること, and we can see this in some of its ...
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18 votes
1 answer
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What does verb+とする mean?

Take the below as an example では私達は先に行くとするわ。ごきげんよう、皆さん. What is the difference between saying 行くとする and 行く and 行こうとする I've seen a lot of explanations for とする that use the meaning of "assume" ...
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17 votes
2 answers
1k views

Ups and downs: かみ・しも vs うえ・した

So, we have the kanji 上・下 which can be read as either かみ・しも or うえ・した, and as I understand it, those two are antonym pairs. But what are the differences between the two? The thesaurus isn't very ...
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17 votes
2 answers
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Meaning of 情弱乙 ?

I see 情弱乙 being used (as an interjection?) on many websites, but I can't find it in any dictionary, even online dictionaries. I guess the pronunciation is じょうじゃくおつ. What does it mean? Examples: 情弱乙! ...
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17 votes
1 answer
994 views

Meaning of ところ in アメリカのいいところ

I feel as though I understand what the below sentence means, but what I think it means makes no sense. 日本に行ったら、アメリカのいいところも発見できるかもしれないですね。 My translation: If you go to Japan, you might be able to ...
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17 votes
1 answer
740 views

i-adjectives that end in a 〜ない which doesn't seem to be 〜無{な}い

I noticed there are many 形容詞{けいようし} (i-adjectives) that end in 〜ない, where the な is not part of the kanji, and doesn't seem to have the meaning 無い. Examples: 危{あぶ}ない means "dangerous", while 危 means "...
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16 votes
1 answer
2k views

呉 is an ancient kingdom in china, how did it become "to give" in japanese?

I found in the Chinese dictionary that 呉 is the name of a kingdom. But in japanese it means "to give". How did it happen ? Thanks a lot
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16 votes
1 answer
3k views

Are the days of the week named after the planets?

I was studying the names of the planets and noticed some similarities. Are the days of the week named after the planets?
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16 votes
3 answers
4k views

います and あります usage

I just learned about: います and あります. I know I should use います for people and moving things and あります for plants and inanimate things. I have two doubts: Which one should I use with "dead body". For ...
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16 votes
1 answer
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Asahi Dry Black beer can

What does ビアホール仕立ての黒 on Asahi Dry Black means? Specifically 仕立て(sewing?) and ビアホール(via hole?). I tried searching it on japanese web, but it's kinda assumed as common knowledge and never mentioned ...
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16 votes
5 answers
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Understanding the usage of もう with present tense verbs

I think when a lot of people first learn もう it's as "already', right? There's also the meanings of "anymore", "soon", "now", "more', "another" and its use as an interjection. That's a lot of meaning ...
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15 votes
3 answers
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Other meanings of でしょう besides "probably"

でしょう can usually be understood to mean "probably." But does it sometimes mean the same thing as ですね? What other meanings can it have? Can it mean "you know?"
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15 votes
3 answers
7k views

How can you figure out whether 鍵【かぎ】 means "lock" or "key"?

Recently, I forgot whether 鍵【かぎ】 meant lock or key, so I looked it up quickly on my phone's dictionary... And then I found out that it actually means both. What are the best ways to figure out if ...
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15 votes
4 answers
11k views

What's the difference between いいえ and English's "no"?

In "Japanese for Busy People I" page 2 (kana or romaji edition) it says that いいえ is 'virtually the same as "no"'. It sounds like there are some differences, but they want to omit mentioning them for ...
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15 votes
1 answer
381 views

What does 尿が近い and 尿が遠い mean?

seeing 尿が遠い/尿が近い in some medical documents and sites, what does 遠い and 近い mean in this sense? Does it literally mean the urine is far(ranged)/urine is close (ranged)?
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1 answer
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Difference between 書かないようになった and 書かなくなった?

Example sentences: ぜんぜん長い手紙を書かないようになった。 ぜんぜん長い手紙を書かなくなった。 My Translation: I never write long letters anymore. I believe they both mean the same thing but there's obviously some difference I don'...
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15 votes
4 answers
733 views

"Unsolvable problem"

What is the correct construction of "unsolvable problem"? Is it "解{と}けられない問題{もんだい}"?(Question 1) Plain(intransitive): 解{と}ける "To be solved". Potential form(of ...
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15 votes
1 answer
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Comparing 気にする vs. 気になる

Consider this example sentence from SPACEALC: あなたがどうしているか気になっていた。  "I was concerned about how you were." What is the difference when 気にする is used instead? I.e., あなたがどうしているか気にしていた。 ~なる seems ...
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15 votes
2 answers
911 views

Why does 目 have a counting sense to it?

Why does 目 get used in situations like 二個目? How did it come about getting the meaning of eye as well as some counting meaning?
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14 votes
3 answers
34k views

What does チャラ mean?

What does チャラ mean? It was explained here that チャラ男 means light image. Does that mean cool image of a person? A cool person? チャラ男とは言動が軽いさまを表す「チャラチャラ」またはこれが形容詞化された「チャラい」を男性名っぽくしたものである(単に「チャラチャラした男」「...
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14 votes
4 answers
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What is the difference between ~すぎ and ~すぎる?

When I was playing a video game a few months ago, I noticed that some of the characters (mostly young teen females, in case it matters) kept saying ~すぎ instead of ~すぎる. For example, when one of the ...
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14 votes
1 answer
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What is Bowser saying in Super Mario RPG? よって! (includes picture)

I'm watching a YouTube video that helps learn Japanese through Mario RPG found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRBRLmhFy-4 I think Bowser is saying something like "I hate how you always ...
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14 votes
2 answers
3k views

どうしますか vs 何をしますか

I always interpreted 何 as "what" and "どう" as more of a "How or How about?" and thus was under the impression that if one wanted to ask "What will you do?" or "What did you do?" you would say 何をしますか ...
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13 votes
6 answers
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What does イケメン mean?

I am in a Japanese 101 class. We are supposed to translate the following sentence: 日本ぶんかの先生は、イケメンですが、ぜんぜんやさしくないですから、あまり好きじゃありません。 I am having trouble with that word イケメン. So far, I have: The ...
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13 votes
1 answer
4k views

What is the term for Japanese Language Stack Exchange in Japanese?

What is the Japanese Language Stack Exchange called in Japanese? I came up with 日本語のスタック交換.
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13 votes
3 answers
6k views

Using 出る as opposed to 出かける

I have looked these two words up on WWWJDIC and there doesn't seem to be much difference. Are they interchangeable, or do they infer different things?
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13 votes
3 answers
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一応: Usage and meaning

I've never really fully grasped the meaning of [一]{いち}[応]{おう} since it seems to have no good English equivalent. What is the meaning, usage, and nuances of 一応?
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13 votes
2 answers
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What is the meaning of 〜たりして?

I've just come across "〜していたりして" at the end of a sentence in a post on Facebook, so it's probably very casual. Does anyone know the correct meaning and typical usage?
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