休む -- Troublesome Synonyms?

Hello all! I have been consistently getting 休む wrong in my studies because I keep thinking up silly synonyms for the true meaning: “to rest” (or “to take time off”). Does anyone know if any of these meanings are valid for the verb?

  • to break
  • to vacation
  • to pause (I suspect this is not)
  • to take a break
  • to recess

These are the ones I’ve been entering, and I would like to know if I should enter them as synonyms or if I have indeed been scatterbrained the whole time!

Holidays, time off work (sick or planned), lunch breaks all use 休. So as long as those meanings fit, I think you are fine to use a synonym.

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There are several separate definitions for 休む, but I think these two are probably the most relevant to the meanings WaniKani is giving.

仕事・活動を中断して、心身を楽にする。

To (temporarily) stop work or an activity to rest one’s body and mind.

欠席・欠勤する。

Absence from work, school, etc.


Of the synonyms you suggested, I’d probably only add “to take a break”.

Which is one meaning of “recess”

That meaning of recess as a verb is quite formal. Like, “recess” as a noun is something you have at school, but recessing as a verb is something you hear in court proceedings. I don’t think it’s a good fit for 休む

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It isn’t a one-to-one fit to the verb as it is used in English, but as long as it evokes the sense of rest that recess the noun does, I would say that it’s totally fine. It’s recess, the noun, as a verb. To recess.

While one could theoretically use “recess” for 休み, I would only really use it for 休憩(する) for it, and I would recommend keeping them distinct.

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Right, and I’m saying that if you use “to recess” it’s pretty specific to formal situations, like parliament or court. I don’t really see how it’s better than to rest, or necessary, given how little people use it.

Thanks for the replies. Let’s get super intuitive here. Everyone’s got a routine they do for the majority of their day, be it in work or school. In some abstract sense, one might have something menial or boring or strenuous they do.

One might want to stop doing that for a while. For relaxation, pleasure, or sanity. To stop doing that for a while, is that 休む?

#1 To stop doing work because you have been doing work for a several months without a vacation
#2 To stop doing work because you have been doing work for 8 hours straight without a break, and plan on continuing your work after the break (rather different from #1)
#3 To change it up a bit, not necessarily as a rest break but for the sake of doing something different than the menial task

Which of #1, #2, or #3 are applicable?

I sense we are starting to circle around each other. I am not saying it is the same as to recess as used in English, but that it is fine to slap an imaginary “to” on the front of the noun “recess” if it is easier to think of it that way for OP. I mean, that is essentially what most する verbs are.

Okay. I agree with @seanblue that I probably wouldn’t add “to recess” but people are free to add any synonyms they want to.

When I sit here and think about it, I don’t think the actual reason for 休む-ing matters to the word 休む itself. It also can be a temporary break/rest, or a longer break/rest. 一休み is more explicitly a short rest (compare with 春休み), or 休憩 is a temporary rest (and 休暇 is a long break like an hour or more).

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