Synonyms on Kanji

Hey hey! I’ve run into a frustration with the kanji meanings and vocabulary meanings, and looking for different perspectives on how to improve my accuracy without inadvertently hampering understanding.

In several circumstances, I miss cards for putting in a meaning that is an alternate meaning that wanikani does not have but I know from other texts/immersion/weeblio etc. to be clear: i have no problem failing the card, adding a synonym and getting more practice. This does not bother me in the slightest. I am more so worried that in the back of my head I know that wanikani could have excluded the synonym i’m adding for a reason… So i get this mounding anxiety that I’m possibly adding meanings that shouldn’t be there. The black list is designed to prevent this right? Like they’re adding meanings that shouldn’t be accepted no mater what, right? My process to verify synonyms is to study the japanese meaning of the word via weeblio, check the meaning on jisho and then add it. What do you guys do to verify an added synonym before you throw it onto the card?


I check Jisho and weeblio to see if my mental concept is a rough match for the actual meaning and that I can associate whatever the synonym I’m adding is to that concept.

I also gave myself a lot more leeway as I started reading more. In many cases, I’m ok with a fuzzy match on WK when I’m pretty sure I’ll have context for the kanji when I actually see it.

I’m even more lax on vocab. For example, 無報酬. Wanikani wants “free of charge” but I added “free” as a synonym to save typing. But every time the review comes up, I’m aware of what it really is and that 無料 (free) is a separate thing.


I didn’t really check mine at all to be honest…

I think the situation where you would a) add a misleading synonym, b) forget the associations from the original lesson entirely, and c) not recover from the mistake after seeing the item in context, has to be very rare.

All of the English SRS words are glosses to one degree or another, so none of them are going to be 100% right. They’ll fade away anyway over time as seeing and using the word replace the artificial connection with natural ones. So personally I don’t think they need to perfect, they just need to be in the ballpark and memorable enough to get the job done.

Wanikani’s own definitions have to more stringent, since they’re teaching strangers and don’t want to ever accidentally mislead. So a lot of intentionally omitted synonyms are just because they’re (English) homonyms that mean something else in a completely different context, which won’t be a problem once you’re a little bit used to the kanji/vocab (alo gives a good example of this).


Jisho lists 無料 as “free (of charge); gratuitous” and lists 無報酬 as "unpaid; without pay; gratuitous; voluntary"​ and so it is a bit funny that WK requires “free of charge” for 無報酬.


Wait, what?

無報酬 means you’re doing something without someone else paying you. You’re not getting something for free, you’re doing something for free.


It honestly doesn’t seem like that great of an entry on wanikani’s part.

You already learned that 報酬 means “compensation,” so adding not to it means you don’t have to pay anything. It’s free of charge. Nice!
Context Sentences
There’s no pay, but I don’t mind.

Maybe they meant free of charge, as in like “don’t worry about it, I’ll do it free of charge”?
Rather than like, a free pamphlet?
“unpaid” or “uncompensated” would maybe be better as a main entry?

I guess it reinforces the ephemerality of the specific SRS word though - I definitely didn’t remember 無報酬 was on wanikani, much less the specific inflection of the word I entered for it in SRS. At least for this one the specific kanji used make the actual nuance pretty apparent.


Ditto. It’s on Master for me, but how did I fail to question what was going on in any of the reviews I did for it?

Maybe one of the @Mods can clarify. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

Maybe “free” was recently added to the blacklist? I just know I it didn’t take it so I added the synonym at the first review.

I’m also using Tsurukame if that makes a difference.

Just catching up. I checked the block list and “free” isn’t on there. Is this something that you’re wanting us to add to the block list?

Mostly clarification as to why WaniKani makes it sound like “you don’t owe any money” when every other resource has a meaning more like “you don’t earn any money”.

What I’m trying to say is, the primary meaning on WaniKani should be on the block list. :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

It’s definitely a matter of perspective and translating it as free or free of charge is possible based on the circumstances. After all, in order for you to not earn money for a job or service, someone else has to get something for free. But it’s true that the item doesn’t really explain it in detail.

1 Like

I’ve done lazy synonyms for items as well. I don’t like writing a whole sentence as the meaning. Not to mention, it’s just hard to memorize the exact phrasing of WK. The important part is whether you understand the meaning/concept or not. I’m giving myself more leeway for missing stuff like that.


Thanks for the clarifying. After looking at it in more detail, I think you’re right that it seems a little misleading based on the examples and translations I’ve seen. I’ll get this one fixed today :+1:


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