Meaning and reading for 徒

I looked up the meaning and readings for 徒 . In all cases I found the on reading as ト.

In Midori dictionary it is translated as “follower”.

In it translated as: “on foot, junior, emptiness, vanity, futility, uselessness, ephemeral thing, gang, set, party, people”.

In, it is “junior; emptiness; vanity; futility; uselessness; ephemeral thing; gang; set; party; people”.

Is that an error in Midori?

Thanks for considering this.

If you check a Japanese resource, you can see the follower meaning

It’s #5 there.

Jisho and Tangorin use the same database for their content, so it’s not like they are agreeing with each other. They didn’t create that data. It’s freely available from a database populated by anyone who wants to help contribute. You could propose changes if you want.

The “meaning” if a kanji is not definite, it can mean different things in different words. That’s why there are very often several options, some of which seem quite unrelated.

The KKLC has the meanings follower, pupil; fellow(s); going on foot.

Going on foot is the original meaning of 徒, it refers to a group of foot soldiers (who were seemingly used as cannon fodder so you also get the “futility, uselessness” meanings :slight_smile:)

So that meaning in Midori is not wrong, but giving a single head word for each kanji is definitely misleading and bound to lead to wrong results.

[Follower is also one meaning in WK.]

Thanks to both of you for educating me. I have another question: What is KKLC?

Thank You.

It’s the Kodansha Kanji Learner Course, basically something like WK in book form. I often quote it here because the kanji meanings in there are based on an English kanji dictionary from the same publisher, which means that the meanings are professionally edited.

This is in contrast to much of the free content on the internet. As Leebo pointed out many resources are based on one source, the free JMDict, a collaborative project. It’s quality is quite good and it enabled lots of useful applications, but it is by no means a gold standard for anything it contains :slightly_smiling_face:

[Especially JMDict seems to have the policy to add stuff when in doubt, so you have bloated meanings and sometimes obscure readings I never found used anywhere.]


Thanks very much!

1 Like

which would you suggest for purchase the KKLC, the KKLD, both? I appreciate JMDict, but yeah I think I would enjoy a more curated source of information.

It depends what you want to do with it, the dictionary has much more information per kanji, but until now I didn’t see a reason for a dedicated dictionary. You can also think the kanji starting from vocabulary words, so a rough understanding what a kanji means is enough. But I’m sure it could be a great resource to get a better overview what the kanji (and its vocab) really means.

I use the KKLC to revise kanji I already learned by going front to back, and reading the associated graded readers. Often the mnemonics are better than WK’s, and the ordering based on common graphemes as they call it is better. But the information per kanji is not that much.

I’m not really using anything as a kanji dictionary, but I would probably get an electronic one then. Directly going for J-J to avoid the “lost in translation” moments as well.

Thanks! I just ordered KKLC! I appreciate the tips :smiley:

kklc is a pretty awesome book, and it baffles me that kodansha didn’t start their own wk-like system. it’s a lot of data entry, i wonder if there’s anki decks for that.
not a huge anki fan, and i have wk, so i didn’t investigate.



I noticed that is out of stock. From where did you order the book?

huh, maybe I snagged the last one. Hopefully they’ll restock promptly.

Correction! I was just being hasty and assumed it went through. Amazon tends to foster that kind of shopping behavior. Ok so yea, it was out of stock and wow the alternative sellers were not offering fair prices. I found a copy on Barnes and Noble for a similar price, hope that helps.

I live in Tokyo, and I do not think they deliver here.

Is this not what you’re looking for? I’m only kind of following this discussion.

Yes it is! I will try them. Thank you.

Update, my copy arrived today. The order I made from B&N got canceled because it wasn’t really in stock after all. When I checked the link it was out of stock there as well. Then by chance I went back over to the US Amazon and a 3rd party seller had put up a copy at a reasonable price. So for anyone that stumbles on this thread my advice is patiently keep checking sites with 3rd party seller markets and hope to catch one that is posted at a price you consider fair.


1 Like

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