惑う: Not Really "Misguided"

Hello!

This might be a rather nitpicky thread, but I felt like discussing anyway. I’ve come across 惑う (まどう) many times in reviews now, and every single time, I remember that it means “to be misled,” among other things like “to be confused.” And every time I get it wrong, because clearly it’s not to be misled, it’s to be misguided. This is the point where you’re getting ready to comment, “just add it to user synonyms and move on!” I did finally do so just now, but I honestly don’t think that these words are synonyms. In fact I think WaniKani’s main definition for the word is just incorrect, or at the very least misleading (ha) because of the subtle difference in usage between “misled” and “misguided” in English.

To be misled implies that someone is influencing you to think or do something wrong. “I was midled by countless social media posts to believe that we eat an average of 8 spiders a year in our sleep.”

To be misguided implies an internal misalignment of understanding or values. “The misguided professor honestly believed that the harder the test, the more students would learn.” No one (directly) caused him to think this, rather it was an internal misunderstanding of how something works.

In terms of syntax, “to be misled by” is very common, but “to be misguided by” is very uncommon. This might not add to my argument since it’s not like the English in the reading-meaning pair includes the “by” but I just want to illustrate that “misguided” isn’t something that is done to you.

Meanwhile 惑う, at least in terms of this meaning (rather than “to be confused” or “to be at a loss”) is something involving outside influence. jmdict uses “to be tempted/seduced/captivated” as their translation, and the Japanese dictionary Daijisen says “悪いことに心が奪われる。” (to have your heart taken over by something bad).

So really even “to be misled” isn’t a perfect match since 惑う doesn’t seem to be used for situations where you’re led to believe something incorrect, like it often is in English. But it’s certainly not “to be misguided,” which removes the nuance of outside influence entirely.

Let me know if I’ve convinced you or if I’m missing something.

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Honestly I think that both misled and misguided are inaccurate translations…

EDIT: It almost looks like whoever made the item got confused and included the definition for 惑わされる without realizing. Or maybe on purpose for some reason

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Everything according to 計画…

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Yeah I’ve got that one in the review queue too. I don’t know if this is the case, but it’s as if a non-native-English-speaker wrote that one. Because led can be the same as guided, so misled must be the same as misguided right? Nope. Love you, English.

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Maybe someone else influenced them to put the wrong thing.

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Thanks for bringing this up, I’ll check with the team to see if it is something we’d like to change.

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Hi there! I wanted to update you all and let you know that the team looked into this and decided to make some changes to 惑う. We’ve now:

  • added “to be at a loss” as the primary meaning and “to be bewildered” an alternative meaning
  • moved “to be led astray,” “to be perplexed,” and “to be puzzled” to the allow list
  • moved “to be misguided” to the warning list
  • added “to be confused,” “to be baffled,” “to be mystified,” and “to be in a quandary” to the allow list
  • updated the meaning and reading explanations
  • replaced a context sentence and added two new ones
  • added common word combinations

Thanks again!

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Appreciate the follow up! Thanks to you and the team.

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“5 months later”

:smiley:
Rather than making the predictable “that took 5 months?!” complaint, I’d like to point out that this is evidence our fine content team is responding to feedback!
(even if you thought they forgot)
(even if it was so long you forgot)

Just teasing, @RachelG , thanks for the update!

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