I'm going to get 鉛 wrong for the last time

Having just reached level 46, I just got the vocab for lead wrong again, at the almost-burn stage, for probably the third time since I started, Lo! 560 days ago.

It’s the clue for me. It doesn’t work. I thought up a new one which I’m quite proud of:

“Hey, that’s made of lead. Are you just going to throw it in the garbage? Nah, I’mma recycle it.”

I’m gunna burn this vocab to the ground next time…

But not literally. Cuz it’s lead. 危ない!


Talking about your leeches is the best way to learn them anyway.

For the meaning, I usually look at the kanji and see the 金 part that kind of always resembles a metal of some sort, and the right side kind of looks like a pencil. So the metal in a pencil would be the “lead” (I know it’s carbon but w/e.

For the reading, we already have the lead, so now we need what’s going around the lead. The best thing would be some raw reeds, since they’re often hollow. So we need some 生(なま)り.


In desperation I’ve taken to writing such leeches on a post it note and sticking them on the toilet door. This seems to be working. Very strange how some become leeches and some do not. There seems to be no rhyme or reason. I can remember lead easily (sorry) but can I remember 混じる? No I can not. My brain won’t have it. It literally rejects it.


I mean, the kanji for pencil is 鉛筆, so maybe there’s something to it. Or it’s just a coincidence.

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In Dutch we call it lood, which means lead. Maybe it’s one of the things that diffused into Japanese culture during the Dutch trading during 鎖国.

Also I thought it was called a lead in English? Is that not true?


Works perfectly in Dutch though, right? :wink:

I feel like I’ve heard of a pencil lead before.

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This connection to lead seems to be present in many languages. In Polish it also has the name related to lead. “lead” - “ołów”, “pencil” - “ołówek”.

If I’m not mistaken, before modern pencils, often lead styli in wooden “frame” were used as drawing tools ( silver-point). Also, when graphite has been discovered in 1564, it was initially thought to be some kind of lead ore (not carbon). That’s why the “core” of the pencil is still called “lead” according to wiki :wink:


Yes, in the US we also call it lead.


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