Is 流る a word, or should it be 流れる?

So, in this song, they use the word 流る (at around 1:30).

(はる)(なが)(くも)()こうへ 」

But Jisho only has 流れる (or 流る pronounced as 流れる)
And Google Translate accepts 流る but still pronounces it 流れる.

So, did the singer mispronounce the word?
Was it contracted for artistic purposes?
Is it just commonly contracted, perhaps in informal form?
Or is Jisho incomplete?


It’s in Weblio’s classical Japanese dictionary.流る

I wouldn’t expect Jisho to have classical Japanese, except when it’s fossilized expressions that still get used.


In basically every circumstance, this would be my first guess, because as far as I know, Jisho’s data wasn’t compiled by someone inside Japan, meaning obscure words were most likely left out. Its main aim is to provide translations as definitions, meaning it probably focuses on words that are likely to be looked up by an English speaker.

Here’s what 大辞林’s definition looks like:

なが・る 【流る】(動ラ下二)→ながれる

And if you look under 流れる, you’ll see that 流る is listed as the its Classical Japanese version. Therefore, they’re the same word, but from different time periods, and they’re pronounced differently.

Jisho (and pretty much all the freely available E-J dictionaries and apps that exist out there it seems) uses databases created and maintained by Jim Breen, who, yes, isn’t Japanese or living in Japan, but he’s a linguist who specializes in Japanese. Anyone can contribute to the database if they want. It has to go through a review process, but there’s nothing stopping people from focusing more on Japanese expressions or whatever.

Here’s the form to submit a new word to JMDict.

And their editorial policy, which is probably a good thing to review for anyone who wants to submit.


Thanks for the information, and it’s nice to know that the database is still open to new entries. I’m not denying that it’s a monumental work and quite frankly is the basis of most freely available EN-JP data today. There’s also no doubt Jim Breen (and very possibly a large number of the other contributors) know more about Japanese than I’m likely to discover over the next few years. I was just speaking primarily from a consumer/learner’s perspective, essentially stating that it’s fairly likely for a resource whose target audience probably isn’t people living in Japan to limit itself to words that are likely to be looked up, and that there might be better or more complete resources out there. However, perhaps it’s not true that JMDict ‘limits’ itself, since it seems to be open to all contributions as long as they are new and suitably written.

In fairness, most Japanese EN-JP dictionaries don’t cover old words either: the Wisdom and Kenkyusha dictionaries don’t have an entry for 流る. Perhaps I also shouldn’t have insinuated that someone who isn’t Japanese or living in Japan wouldn’t have such knowledge, seeing as I myself am a foreign French speaker who has used expressions in my essays that even my native French teacher in high school didn’t know. Stereotypically, foreign speakers know less than native speakers, but that’s not always true.

At the end of the day, however, my message to @PabloM is to be aware that other dictionaries exist, even if for a beginner, many of these dictionaries are impossible to use. It’s difficult for any one resource to cover all of the expressions used in a language, even if we limit our scope to standard, ‘correct’ language, meaning that almost any dictionary is incomplete. Generally speaking, monolingual dictionaries are more complete, which is why it’s good to move on to those as soon as possible, and slang dictionaries (like Pixiv and Nico Nico’s dictionaries) can help with words that are used online without appearing in any mainstream dictionaries. In the meantime, however, a dictionary I’d recommend for supplementing Jisho at the beginner-intermediate level is It has more example sentences and draws its data from multiple sources, including JMDict, meaning you can get a much more complete idea of what a word means and how it’s used. (Yes, the interface is in Japanese, but the definitions that come up when one searches are in English.) The main advantages Jisho has over Weblio’s EJJE page are that it often includes stroke order animations, JLPT levels and even WK levels, meaning you might want to use a bit of both to serve your needs.

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Ah, ok, so it’s kind of an archaic way of saying it?

Edit: I’m nowhere near advanced enough to be able to use a dictionary actually written in Japanese. So, thanks for helping.

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Yup, seems like it. However, the technically correct form of the classical verb in front of a noun is 流るる. 流る is the ‘end-of-sentence form’, so there’s technically an error in that line. It was probably a stylistic choice. (Unless there’s something else about the singer or song that I should know and don’t.)

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Yeah, that sounds about right.
The song is called 暁ノ糸, but should “properly” be written 暁の糸.
(あかつき の いと. Something like: “Thread of dawn”)

Actually not quite. Before the latest spelling reform, all particles and okurigana (the ‘extra’ kana that make up a verb or other word alongside a kanji) were written in katakana. That’s why you sometimes seen surnames written that way, like 一ノ瀬.


I suggest you get rid of the word “properly” there. Even in quotes, it’ll help you to realize that’s not the case.

@Jonapedia EDICT is actually chock-full of archaic, super-obscure and dead words. In fact it has so many of them that one of the biggest problems with using EDICT is ending up with words that no living Japanese person has ever heard of.

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I see. Well, I guess it’s not supposed to be a 文語 dictionary then, and I should leave it at that.

By the way, since I think you know more about Classical Japanese than me,

is this actually a grammatical error under classical rules (possibly due to an assumption that the 終止形 and 連体形 are the same like in Modern Japanese), or is this some alternative/variant usage that I’m not aware of? Google does bring up a few other results (about 3000, which is very few for Google) using 流る雲, but I don’t know whether they’re actually using the classical form or are using it as an alternative way of writing 流れる (not that I’m sure if that works).

Huh? I just mean it’s not what you’d call standard.

Was this question aimed at me, because I’m largely clueless.

You should have tagged me! I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t come back to look at unread posts, since your post doesn’t quote me or reply to something I wrote.

Anyway, no, I was hoping @Syphus might be able to shed some light on whether there’s actually a grammatical error in there.

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Basically I just mean hiragana is only “standard” by an arbitrary writing standard that currently exists. But especially in names of things you will find the Katakana ノ often enough.


So, 流る is the 終止形 while 流るる is of course the 連体形. So under that theory, then yes, it is technically a grammatical error in classical Japanese. But I think this kind of sort-of-classical sounding words but with modern grammar happens often enough in works.

I don’t know if there was a time 流る existed on its own though. To me, the presence of 流す indicates that there’s a possibility. But beyond that I couldn’t tell you. Wikipedia has this to say:


古典日本語「ながる」 < 「なぐ」(和ぐ)

But still, even with that, I don’t get any indication that 流る was ever anything other than 終止形. However, either way, I am 100% sure we are thinking about this more than the songwriter did.


Thanks for the answer!

That’s an interesting thought. I don’t really know where word roots end in Japanese though.

Hahaha. I guess so. Honestly, I suspect the songwriter just chose something that would sound archaic (the music video itself looks like it’s meant to be set in some sort of ancient, mythical Japan) while still being understandable (so no 流るる, which probably looks even more obscure than 流る since I haven’t seen any 〜るる verbs in Modern Japanese so far). It’s like how many people avoid the subjunctive in English, and in French, I avoid the imperfect subjunctive even in places where I know it’s the technically correct form.

@PabloM By the way, I really like how that song sounds! Thanks for posting it (even if it was just because you had a question)!

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Basically, any verb that ends in す was originally formed by the noun or 連体形 having the causitive す slapped onto it.

So something like… removing る from the 連体形 and adding す? 流る→流→流す? I’m not sure I understood you correctly. Adding す directly would give 流るす, so I assumed that wasn’t what you meant.

Sorry that was a typo, I meant 連用形. Also to make things complicated, now that I think about it it’s more complex than that. But to make it simple again, verbs like 出す were just the 連用形 plus す(る)

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I know, right?
There’s not a lot of words, so I made an effort to memorise the song.
I can now recite it from memory (only phonetically (mostly)). I still don’t really understand the meaning, but I’m hoping to gradually learn all the words (meanings, kanji, etc.) :sunglasses:

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