The more Kanji the better

… seems to have been the motto of whoever adapted Kanji into Japanese.

What I mean by that are words that probably originated in Japan and are written in a werid way.

The words むすこ (son) and むすめ (daughter) are obviously related, so it would make sense to reflect that in how they are written. But むすめ instead gets its own Kanji (娘) instead of being written 息女. (see how that’s just like 息子 ?)

潔い could have been written 勇清い and there are probably many more examples.

息女 and 勇清い are WRONG, don’t write like that!

Don’t tell me this topic is stupid, I already know. Share some examples you found.


Those words exist in Chinese too, the kanji versions… so, as is often the case, Japanese pronunciations were presumably slapped onto existing kanji, which is why they look unrelated even though they sound (and are) related in pronunciation.

Though your second example is a little different, those are mixing and matching different kunyomi. I’m guessing you won’t like 志 or 承る

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This topic is stu… pendous!


“The words むすこ (son) and むすめ (daughter) are obviously related” ok then, I bet brain and rain are also related.

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I get that you’re being facetious, but I can’t tell if you’re actually doubting that むすこ and むすめ are related… they are.


Those are exactly what I mean, but at least the Kanji are fairly quick to write.

The difference is that those have unrelated meanings.


There are so many ~がえる’s.

I wonder where does まぼろし comes from.

I’m not arguing your point, I’m fascinated thinking about this stuff.

All language has pronunciations and meanings that start off totally related but drift apart in weird ways that, if someone were in charge of regulating usage/if it were a purely designed language like esperanto, probably wouldn’t happen

My favorite example is “applaud” and “explode” which don’t look related by spelling and don’t seem related in meaning. But…
These words were antonyms for each other for centuries!
In Latin, applaudere is the loud noise an audience makes to cheer and support what’s going on onstage.
The opposite, explaudere was to jeer, boo, and hiss to drive an actor offstage.

These words were used, obviously, well before the invention of gunpowder and therefore well before things were exploding all over the place (we live in a world totally surrounded by explosions these days!)

Explode soon came to mean any loud, violent noise. It didn’t take on the meaning of combustion until freaking 1882!!!

Source: explode | Etymology, origin and meaning of explode by etymonline


They are unrelated, but you literally never know with English etymology, so I checked. Rain is a pretty boring entry, but “brain” is an interesting one. It has no cognates outside of West Germanic, and a best guess is that it came from a word (bhragno) that meant “something broken”. Wonder if that’s because back when language was just getting established, you only knew about or encountered “brains” if something had gone seriously wrong with someone’s skull :frowning:


Left a like for educating me.

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Like literally those two are probably siblings lol

An interesting little read about the way words like this evolved -

1 : vocabulary - Origin/etymology of こころ~ words - Japanese Language Stack Exchange

Some paraphrasing:

In Old Japanese, the word for lake was just a compound of the word 水 and 海. Chinese, on the other hand, had unrelated words for “water,” “sea,” “lake” and when translating to Chinese (for kanbun; 漢文), Japanese writers had to use the proper Chinese character 湖, since 水海 doesn’t mean anything in Chinese. Later, the character 湖 stuck as the accepted character for みずうみ

Kind of related:

2 : vocabulary - Nuances between the different kanji spellings of あける:明ける vs. 開ける vs. 空ける - Japanese Language Stack Exchange

Example with 開ける 空ける 明ける

The words had formed well before kanji came to be used for writing Japanese. When the Japanese had to fit the Chinese kanji to their language, they obviously couldn’t find a single kanji that would convey all of the senses of あける together.


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