Understanding weird characters in monolingual dictionary entries

I recently switched to monolingual dictionaries with Yomichan. In the entries, there’s a few weird characters, specifically “―” and “◇” in this one:

Here’s the screenshot as text:
旺文社国語辞典 第十一版

  • がく‐えん【学園】――ヱン
  1. 明鏡国語辞典
  • がく‐えん【学園】─ヱン〘名〙

Also, what’s with the “ヱン”? Weird old Katakana-character and ん?

In this post, something similar was discussed with a triangle-character: Does anyone know what ▼ is in mono-lingual dictionaries? - #4 by Ncastaneda
How can I find/open this page explaining the dictionary-specific symbols that apparently exist for EPWING-dictionaries? That would help me out as well.


In the examples, ─ is a stand-in for the word being defined. I think this is done since there can be alternate spellings for the word and with the stand-in they get to avoid picking a specific spelling. I have no idea what the ◇ is. I’ve never seen that before.

As for ヱン, it’s probably just listing the old spelling from before the kana reforms where that kana was eliminated and replaced with エ. You’ll sometimes see a similar thing with verbs where dictionary entries will mention that verb is 五段 and that in classical Japanese it was 四段.


That already makes a lot of sense, thanks! :+1:

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I tried to check the official site of that dictionary, but the paper version does not include that symbol. Maybe it’s specific to the electronic version? Anyway, from context, it just means like a way to mark the beginning of a clarification.


Yeah that makes sense.

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