77

The left side is actually a form of 肉, and in traditional dictionaries the radical for these characters is 肉. It's called にくづき (from 肉{にく}+月{つき}) because it looks like 月 but is historically a form of 肉. Because 肉 looks just like 月 in these characters, some less traditional dictionaries list these characters under 月 instead, to make them easier to look up. ...


40

That is because the radical 「月」 originally comes from two different kanji -- 「月」 ("moon") and 「肉」 ("flesh"). The two were originally treated as two completely different radicals but they are now often taught/treated to be the same radical, which is the big source of confusion today (even among us Japanese). When you find the radical 「月」 in different kanji,...


38

It is false. ありがとう came from adjective ありがたい, which was ありがたし in classical Japanese and dates back much earlier than any loanwords from Portuguese appeared in Japanese. Word ありがたし appeared in Makura no Sōshi (1002), although I hope that someone with access to large dictionaries can post earlier references. Loanwords from Portuguese in Japanese started ...


38

According to 語源由来辞典 ( http://gogen-allguide.com/o/omoshiroi.html ), 「面白い」 is originated from 「面白し」. 「面」 used to mean "a sight/view" (the source says the front of eyes) and 「白い」 used to mean "bright and clear." Then 「面白し」 later came to mean "a light/bright sight/view" and then later "a beautiful sight/view". It further came to mean "fun" or "comfortable", ...


38

Is there an etymological connection between 輪{リン} as in 車輪{しゃりん} and "ring" in English? Or is this a false cognate? There are a few things we have to look at to answer this. Derivation of different Japanese readings As we can see in the Jisho.org entry, rin is an on'yomi for the kanji 輪. On'yomi are the "sound readings", the literal meaning of the ...


37

A few years ago I began to create a list. It is incomplete, but you can build from here. 湖 → 水海【みずうみ】 京 → 宮処【みやこ】 暁【あかとき】 → 明時 曙 → 明け仄 喉 → 飲門【のみと】 銅 → 赤金【あかがね】 胡床 → 足座【あぐら】 羹 → 熱物【あつもの】 鐙 → 足踏み【あぶみ】 雷【いかずち】 → 厳【いか】つ霊【ち】 泉 → 出【い】づ水【み】 営む → 暇無【いとな】む 猪【いのしし】 → 猪【い】の獣【しし】, 猪【い】の肉【しし】 妹 → 妹【いも】人【うと】 (common hito shift) 甍 → 苛処【いらか】 驢 → 兎馬【うさぎうま】 鬣【うながみ】 → 項【うな】髪【...


35

There are a few words in Japanese where the Kanji reading does not match up with the given 音読{おんよ}み or 訓読{くんよ}み readings. These are 熟字訓{じゅくじくん} particularly if the reading is more important and derived from the meaning of the word and not from a combination of the Kanji that make up the word. Oftentimes, these are used for what are known as 大和言葉{やまとことば}, or "...


33

It's not real Japanese. It's a munged version of 申します. In Shift_JIS encoding, only the first byte is guaranteed to have the high bit set, which means the second byte can sometimes be the same as a character in the ASCII range. This happens with U+7533 申, for which the second byte is encoded as 0x5C \. If someone is using software that tries to strip ...


33

According to jisho.org パン has its origins from the Portuguese word “pão”, and was originally written as 麺麭 or 麪包 before being written as パン like it is today. Is this pure coincidence or do they have the same origins? Seeing as how both Spanish and Portuguese are Latin-based languages, I think it's not a stretch of the imagination to say that the origins ...


32

You are mixing i-adjective かわいい (kawaii, "cute, lovely") with na-adjective かわいそう (kawaisō, "poor, pitiful"). These are simply different, although they share the same etymology. かわいい(かはゆし) actually meant 'pitiful' in old Japanese, but there was a shift in meaning many years ago. We say おいしそう (oishi-sō, "looks yummy"), たのしそう (tanoshi-sō, "looks amusing"), etc....


30

In short, that is because "island" is not the only meaning of 「島/しま/シマ」. Besides "island", it can mean "settlement", "arable land by a river", "isolated area", "territory", "turf", "sandbank", etc. Even each section of a supermarket or any sizable store is called 「シマ」. So, it does not have to be sea water that surrounds a 「島/しま/シマ」. 「[福島]{ふくしま}」 was ...


28

The concept is from Chinese. In Chinese, 風 was principally "wind", but wind (and by extension changes in temperature) was also believed to be the source of various aliments to the physical body. The Japanese word kaze originally only meant "wind". The sense "(sickness) cold" was influenced by Chinese. Note though that it originally was not limited to the ...


28

"Tomorrow" is said in three different ways in Standard Japanese. In the order of formality, those are: みょうにち、あす and あした. (In kanji, all three are written as 「明日」.) What that inevitably means is that the native speakers learn the three "words" in the reverse order. 「あした」 is definitely the most intuitive for us. あした is by far the most common pronunciation ...


28

It's not a wholly Japanese word. It's a shortening of [空]{から} ('empty') and オーケストラ. So, since at least part of it needs to be written with katakana, the whole word is written with katakana. (Switching between the two within one word typically only happens in slang verbs like サボる.)


28

In general, don't overinterpret repeated components. It's inconsistent and largely a hit-and-miss exercise. Sometimes they just mean "lots of" the single repeated component, or some extended meaning from that. For example, in addition to 「木」->「林」->「森」, there is 「火」(fire) ->「炎」(blaze) 「屮」(sprouting plant, not used as an individual character) ->「艸」(full ...


27

ローマ字 is ローマ plus 字【じ】. It's a noun+noun compound, just like 漢字【かんじ】 or アメリカ人【じん】. It is not the English adjective Roman plus 字, so there's no reason for an ン to be there. Writing romanji is a common beginner's mistake. There isn't really any linguistic significance to it, and you should avoid making this mistake yourself. The Japanese place name ローマ ...


27

No, this phrase isn't cognate with Standard Japanese あした. したっけ literally means what in Standard Japanese そうしたら. The demonstrative そう is omitted because the whole context before is considered to stand in place of it (colloquial omission of this そう is also common in Tokyo). The っけ part shares the same origin with Standard っけ ("(what) again?"), that is ...


27

Yes, it is 助【すけ】 + 人【ひと】. 助【すけ】 is an obsolete word that means "help; assistance". The currently used verb 助ける is composed of た "hand" + すく "assist". Noun + 人 was a very productive way to coin a word that roughly means "-er" or "who is —" throughout older times in Japanese. Many of those words are still surviving in contracted form today, mostly ...


24

Any word read in on'yomi in Japanese and using the Sinic hanja reading in Korean is probably ultimately attributable to Middle Chinese, unless evidence can be found of an independent coinage somewhere on the Japanese archipelago or the Korean peninsula. Terms like the ones below are likely borrowings from Middle or later Korean, rather than Chinese. We can ...


24

I think to answer your question it needs to be broken into two parts, namely "what is です's etymology?" and "where is です used?". Usage You will see です used in two ways: As the polite form of the copula だ. In this case, it has the meaning "to be" and acts mostly like a verb, in that it inflects. 彼{かれ}はお医者{いしゃ}さんです。 "He is a doctor." ちょっと変{へん}でした。 ...


24

I think the word [時間]{じかん} was created in the Meiji era, but the word [時]{とき} is older. So it's definitely wrong that "the Japanese didn't have any interest in clocks (until 1871)". I searched in an old-Japanese dictionary and found the usage of 「とき」 in 竹取物語: [宵]{よひ}うち[過]{す}ぎて、[子]{ね}のときばかりに Here, the word [子]{ね}のとき refers to a certain time which is ...


24

Probably for the same reason that someone who is "ahead" of someone else is both in front of them physically and also arrives earlier. For that matter, the English word "before" also shares the same meanings of "earlier" and "in front" (though the latter meaning is rarer in current usage). Equating temporal directions with physical ones is a tricky matter ...


24

The use of「呉」in「[呉]{く}れる」is an Ateji (kanji that are used phonetically, disregarding its meaning).「呉」was used because「[呉]{くれ}」was a way to say "China", derived from a Japanese word for sunset (「[暮]{く}れる」; China being west of Japan). Note,「呉れる」is not a common spelling anymore.


22

As in many other languages, Japanese has gone through a number of both major and minor pronunciation changes. English is certainly no exception, either. Why do English-speakers continue to spell words like "knight" and "daughter" as such when they no longer pronounce those words the way they are spelt? Japanese has experienced the same problem of ...


22

For the etymology of 赤ちゃん "baby" gogen-allguide.com says the following: 赤ちゃんの語源・由来 新生児の皮膚の色が赤く見えることによる語で、「赤ん坊」や「赤子・赤児」も、皮膚の色に由来する。 民間語源には、赤ちゃんを意味する韓国語「アガ」を語源とする説もある。 しかし、「赤ちゃん」や「赤ん坊」の語が成立する以前に「あが」の例は見られず、成立後に見られる「あがちゃん」や「あがんぼう」は訛りであるため、この説は考え難い。 また、子供を叱る時の「メッ」という言葉も、韓国語で「鞭(ムチ)」を意味する「メ」に由来するものとし、それを根拠に赤ちゃんの語源も「アガ」とするものがある。 「メッ」の語源と「赤ちゃん」...


21

snailplane's link says, it comes from 皮肉骨髄 "skin meat bones marrow" attributed to the Bodhidharma of Chinese Zen Buddhism. Bones and marrow came to take on the meaning of essential, skin and meat became synonymous with superficial. From there, 皮肉 was also used as a word for criticizing faults/defects (which stems from not recognizing the true nature of sth.),...


21

In this case, 「[近]{ちか}い」 and 「[遠]{とお}い」 express temporal intervals and not spatial distances -- "at shorter intervals" and "at longer intervals", respectively. 「[尿]{にょう}が近い」 means "having the tendency of urinating frequently". 「尿が遠い」 means the opposite of that -- "not having to pee very often". We also say 「トイレが近い/遠い」 to express the exact same ideas. (...


21

This is not pure coincidence, but the Japanese did not get the word パン from Spanish, but rather Portuguese. The coincidence part is that Spanish and Portuguese are very closely related languages and share a huge volume of cognates. It's not happenstance that things worked out this way, and I think it's interesting to understand a bit of the historical ...


20

Say what? Putting aside the fact that this sounds like a whitewashed description of sexual assault, at what point in history was this "practice" so common that it was given a name? I don't know when it started, but the word originally comes from [呼ばう]{よばう} and is more commonly written as [夜這い]{よばい}. It is an old Japanese custom that was common up until the ...


20

It's [熟字訓]{じゅくじくん}. Excerpt from Wiktionary: A Japanese word whose kanji spelling conveys the meaning based on the individual characters, but the reading is not directly related to the spellling. For example, 大 (“big”, usually read ō in kun'yomi compounds) and 人 (“person”, usually read hito in kun'yomi compounds) combine to form 大人, meaning “adult” but ...


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