Are you supposed to memorize all other vocab/word meanings?

For vocab/words that have many different other meanings, is it important to memorize all the other meanings for each vocab/word (or do you do this when going through the lessons and reviews)? For example:



I usually memorize just the closely related meanings as it would be too much to memorize every alternate meaning. For example, for 先, I remember Tip and Ahead (but I didn’t also memorize First and Future). For 必ず, I remember Surely, Certainly, Without Exception (but I didn’t memorize that it also means Always and Definitely).

I kind of put the other meanings in the back of my mind, but only the closely related ones stick to my mind.

Just hoping this doesn’t hurt me in the future and if I should be making an effort to memorize every other meaning.

Just one is typically fine for the start. The only time you need to learn more is for when they have completely different definitions, like 心持ち, for example. But even for those, you can just learn subsequent definitions after you come across them.


good point, thanks for your input! I was thinking that - just will learn other definitions as I go (which I have been doing now that I think of it). Thank you

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i wouldn’t. the problem is that “other” meanings are just there to help give a rough approximation of a word that probably doesn’t have an exact translation in english. trying to learn this is thinking about it from an english perspective which is probably a mistake, if you learn more it should be how it’s actually used in japanese


I would. Though, it is different from remembering English translations; but try to remember different feels in example sentences as much as possible.

Although it is true that one is fine for the start. The goal of WaniKani is to learn Kanji after all, with enough vocabularies to support the Kanji.


if there are two or more meanings, I choose one always and later on reviews I choose another word for it.

If i ry to memorize all at the same time, it hurts my brain. :laughing:


You don’t have to memorise all meanings, just go with the one that sticks with you, you’re gonna learn the rest with use as you progress on your learning journey.


I’d second this.

There are a few cases:

  1. Multiple English words with roughly the same logical meaning. Note that many/most English words can be used in different ways. Listing several synonyms can help you distinguish which meaning is intended.

  2. Multiple English words with apparently different meanings, but Japanese has a word for a concept that underlies all of these meanings. This is much more common than you might think. The best way to learn this is from context (lots of reading and listening).

  3. Truly different meanings for the Japanese word.

I’d say #3 is the least frequent but it still comes up fairly often.

Regardless, I’d suggest reading all the meanings during your lessons, but only memorizing one for your reviews.

During lessons you should try to figure out which of the three categories it is.

During reviews you may want to revise your opinion.


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