Jap-Eng Dictionaries are... "insightful" (-_-メ)

Y U Do This!??

Is there a better way to look up the nuanced difference between these words and other similar words?
My usual method is looking up example sentences or checking Stack Exchange/Hi-Native to see if this question has already been asked and answered. And while this works most of the time, there are few which give me trouble.

I have read alot of people recommending making the switch from Jap-Eng, to a Jap-Jap dictionary, though I don’t know if/when I can make that kind of jump. What is your guys method/recommendation?


Try to see how they’re used in sentences (jisho has this), instead of just by themselves.
You’ll also see them in context, etc., so that should help.

1 Like

You already have the answer! Looking up similar terms in a monolingual dictionary will make things much, much clearer.

I’d recommend starting with Sanseido (三省堂), because its definitions tend to be super concise, making them very straightforward to understand even if you haven’t covered much grammar yet. In the event that the definition uses an unknown word, feel free to look it up in jisho.org or whatever your favorite J↔E dictionary happens to be, because I’d say it’s not worth diving multiple levels into a monolingual dictionary just to understand a single word.

Besides, the more you do it (“it” being understanding a monolingual dictionary in this case), the better you’ll get at it! To make a quick analogy, if you wanted to get good at swimming, would you practice by riding a bike? Of course not, you should swim to get better at swimming!



じこ 1 [事故]
(A bad incident, especially a traffic one.)

へんじ 1 [変事]
(An unusual incident.)

じへん 1 [事変]
(1) 異常な出来事. (2) 宣戦布告なしの国家間の戦闘行為. (3) 警察力で鎮圧できない騒乱.
(Also a bad incident, but can more specifically refer to strife between nations outside of war, or unrest that police can’t get under control.)


The Japanese to Japanese dictionaries are pretty helpful if you can understand them, but given that you’re probably relatively early in your Japanese learning, I would recommend two things:

1.) Use google search by image. If you put in 事故, you’ll see that it’s often refers to a traffic accident, (as Japanese media use that term to refer to that kind of accidents.) 変事, is more abstract, as indicated by the less helpful results.

2.) Use another resource other than Wanikani to explicitly learn vocabulary (perhaps, Minna no Nihongo’s vocabulary list for example.) Wanikani doesn’t explicitly teach vocabulary, you accumulated it along the way, and it certainly doesn’t teach the proper way to use the vocabulary you acquired. This isn’t a knock on Wanikani, but rather just a warning that you’ll have to supplement your learning with outside sources to “balance” your Japanese learning.


Can I hug you! OMG!? This dictionary recommendation is amazing!

Assisted with a little Yomi-chan (MCdict), for unknown vocabm. I am going to try this out from now on and see how I go.

I guess those bunpro lessions are really helping me out now :stuck_out_tongue:


You might be interested in the dictionaries I posted in this thread


I absolutely love Yomichan with those JLPT
and WK dictionaries :heart: huge time savers

1 Like

Jisho sentences come from the site Tatoeba, which means anyone can write them, which means you might be relying on other non-natives’ sentences for nuance.




Thank you for making this @Kumirei !! I had no idea
something like this existed, but i’m so glad it does.
And worked like a charm, first try :stuck_out_tongue:



This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.