Sometimes Wanikani changes vocabulary meanings

This has happened quite a bit already where I learn the vocabulary meaning in my lessons, then somewhere along the reviews the meaning is totally changed and I get it wrong. One example: I learned the vocab word “promise” which was just the kanji “promise” alone. Then when it was time to Master it, I got it wrong in reviews because “promise” didn’t work anymore and the meaning was changed to "about."
Not a big deal… just thought it’d be easier if they gave the correct meanings the first time.
Just a note, sometimes they add more synonyms after too.

Links for reference:

edit: reason was changed, I was thinking that the Kanji and Vocab got confused – I shouldn’t write when I’m tired lol.

Yeah I’ve been thinking about adding a user syn for some of those so the vocabulary works because I hate getting dinged on that. But I’m not sure what the consequences would be long term / why it isn’t like that already. Which is what I think you’re asking anyway?

Naw, I’m not really asking anything. It was just a minor thing that was a bit annoying. But I realize at least they act to fix their mistakes by changing the meaning.

You mean 約? I noticed the reading explanation still mentions “promise” as well. Frankly I don’t know why it ever had promise in the first place, 約する can mean “to promise” but I’m pretty sure its just a reduction of 約束 in that case.

@TheEmpty I would highly suggest not adding these words as synonyms. The ones I’m seeing have been removed are ones that are just wrong, period.

Yeah, that was the example I mentioned.

You can follow the change log to keep up with these types of changes.

(Plug-in idea: A dashboard widget that highlights changes only for those items you’ve already learned.)


Great idea. Just looking at the change log, you notice they change a good number of things.

I believe 礼 was gratitude and thanks before, now it’s just thanks, got my burn mistake on that. Thanks for the heads up. Haven’t gotten to this one yet.

I definetely learned 礼 as thanks. I must have done this lesson back in May or June.

If a change in the meaning is as radical as going from “promise” to “about”, users who’ve already done that lesson should be notified, or be made to redo it, since the meaning originally taught is now considered to be plain wrong. This way it’s just confusing, and when you get it wrong it will just go down 1 or 2 SRS levels instead of being treated as a new item.

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The kanji 約 means promise. The vocab 約 means about.

To edit, when did you learn this? I believe it’s level 15, which I was just also in recently, and these haven’t changed.

The vocab was “promise” when I learned it (Level 15). So I learned it just slightly before you did. In that interval, they changed the meaning.

My understanding is that “約” actually means “about”/“approximately” when it’s a solo kanji that is followed by numbers, but it’s “promise” when followed by “suru”. The former is used a lot in NHK Easy articles, so it’s good to know.

It is unfortunate that some people potentially burned or learned the wrong meanings though. I don’t check the change log since it’s on a different site; I’d have preferred something more native to WaniKani. A dashboard notification or email would’ve made more sense, IMO, since this is essentially a non-backwards compatible change.

約 doesn’t need to be followed by する to mean “promise” by itself, and no one who burned it as that meaning learned something that is incorrect.

I’ve got my dictionary open and the first definition is 約束 with the example sentence of 約を結ぶ.

I’m a little curious why they removed promise completely.

When I asked my girlfriend she said it’s not commonly used that way, but I don’t see grounds to remove it if it’s in the dictionary.

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In WK’s “defense”, its not like they always have all of the definitions for words either. They only have it listed as an adverb right now, whereas the “promise” definition is a noun/suru verb. Took me like 5 seconds to find “固く約した” in a dictionary, so I don’t disagree with you though. I personally feel like they should have kept promise as well.

Definition as a noun found in another dictionary:

Love the plug-in idea!

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