When The Word You’re Searching For Isn’t In The Dictionary — 6 Comments

  1. This is a super handy technique. And wow I wasn’t even aware of that third one, nice :)

    For those who haven’t tried this yet, the first time you google something in Japanese and are able to understand the answer you find is a pretty great moment. Give it a shot sometime!

    • The third one can be a lot of fun because sometimes knowing the origin of the word as well can open a massive window behind the culture.

  2. I often use とは and 意味 when searching for definitions, but wasn’t aware of 語源. Sounds like a great way to gain real depth of knowledge. Two websites that go into good detail about the roots of expressions are: for slang terms, and for idioms and 四字熟語.

    For technical words, often compounds of two or more existing words, the first line or two from the Japanese Wikipedia page can provide a succinct and usable definition. The online dictionary Weblio often contains excerpts from Wikipedia pages, as well as plenty of example sentences if you look in the 英語例文 section.

    • Great additional resources!

      I’m a big fan of the kotowaza site as it lets you pick up some really “deep” Japanese.

      I also like the gogen site which looks like it is a sister site of the kotowaza one.

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