Understanding/remembering 当 meanings and vocab

Hey! First time posting here.

I’m really having trouble with this kanji’s meanings and vocab. I mean, it’s been with me constantly for what, 10 levels now? I just can’t wrap my head around it, and keep mistaking the vocabs between themselves.

Sometimes it’s guess. Sometimes it’s guess correctly. Other times, it’s success. How do I know when it means one or the other? How is it used, normally?

Thanks everyone! c:

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I agree. This one was a pain for me. The main thing that helped for me was seeing/hearing them a lot in sentences in the wild. That context helped me to remember which is used which way. Besides that, you could try to make a new mnemonic relating to the meaning. For example,

当てる to guess, guess something: You guess that there will be ateru-ble storm. You guess incorrectly. Therefore, it was just a guess or guessing something

当たる to guess correctly, be correct: You guess that there will be ataru-road on the way to school. Duh there is. In this case, you guess correctly, are correct.

Something like that might help a bit.

Maybe other people will have suggestions too.


In every language there are words (or concepts), which cannot be easily translated into another or just plain do not exists in the other one.
Best one can do is use a few (or many) words in the other language to try to describe the meaning and concept.
Languages are something living and so are their use.
I find that abstract kanji are particular hard to describe/translate/understand in English.

My advice would therefore be, depending on your level, to skip English more or less in your understanding of the language.

That is, instead of trying to remember, was it to guess or to guess correctly study (not read) as
many example sentences containing the vocabulary as you can.
Try to get a grasp of how the words are used in their natural environment, outside of flash cards.
Do that by not translating it back (depending on your level), try to “get” it.

Reading Japanese explanations might help as well.

I am sorry for explaining so poorly, what I actually mean is, that I believe it is hard to understand such abstract concepts as 当 translated and maybe it would help you to get a more “natural feel” for it by studying a lot of
sentences and speech patterns containing it.

Maybe this will not so much improve your ability to get the flash cards correct, but in the end we are not learning for the flash cards.

@TamanegiNoKame beat me. Use sentences ^^.


Thank you @TamanegiNoKame and @Chiv, your advice was really useful to me! I’ll be sure to try these tips and hopefully get this concept down. c:

It’s a bit hard for me to understand the sentences, since I intend to keep the proper grammar studies until I have a good grasp of a nice amount of kanji, but I do have an “intuition” of sorts for many expressions and the like, from many years of passive exposition to the language, so I might be able to get a bit out of it at least.

I actually remember this kanji and its vocab through 当たり (the video game company). They’re a success, so 当たり is a success. After that it’s just variations on the concept.


Oh boy, now I’m finally getting this one down for good! Hahah, thanks for the great tip. :smiley:

Even if you have trouble getting something like 当たる to stick, dont worry. You’ll need to remember so many definitions for it outside of what WK teaches you anyways. Same goes for 当たり, but to a lesser extent. Ime, when its just a single word and the okurigana can change the meaning pretty drastically, its best just to remember it by pronunciation. You can’t rely on 当 to help you with the meaning of 当てはまる vs 当たる, so just focus on the rest of the word and ignore the meaning of 当. Make up a mnemonic for the okurigana instead and remember that theres just a 当 in there pronounced as あ. Just my advice.

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