What's the difference between 大体 and 大抵.?

Inquiring minds want to know, what is the difference between 大体 and 大抵.? How would you use both?

Thanks for your help in advance. :face_with_monocle:

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Did you look them up in Jisho or something? They have pretty distinct meanings that don’t really seem to overlap at all. Is there something specific about the dictionary definitions that are confusing you between the two?


I did. They both mean generally. A broad scope if you will.

I could be wrong, but it seems like 大体 is more about the approximate idea of something, and 大抵 is more of a “this is what usually happens” sort of thing. In English, they both can be expressed with very different uses of “General (idea)” or “Generally (what happens)”.

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Did you actually read the full definitions on Jisho? Jisho lists way more than just ‘general’ and ‘generally’.

大体:

Noun

  1. outline; main point; gist​
    Adverbial noun, Temporal noun
  2. general; substantially; approximately; about​
  3. in the first place; to begin with; from the start​

compared to 大抵:

Na-adjective, Adverb, Noun

  1. mostly; ordinarily; usually; generally​
  2. probably​
    No-adjective, Noun
  3. most; almost all​
  4. ordinary​ (before a neg. form)
    Na-adjective
  5. proper; appropriate; moderate​usu. as 〜にする

Also, make sure to pay attention to the called out part of speech.

Which definition? It lists many multiple definitions none of which really overlap between the two words. Even the lines that include ‘general’/‘generally’ list other different synonyms to differentiate the meaning. :man_shrugging:

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I’d suggest looking up だいたい on grammar resources like Bunpro, Tae Kim, etc; it’s a very distinct sentence construct that’s used in a few particular ways.

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Maybe if you ignore their parts of speech. There are numerous uses of 大抵 as an adverb that you just can’t do with 大体.

大抵マッサージをします。
大抵8時に起きる。

And then there are just meanings that 大体 provides that you can’t replicate with 大抵:

大体の数
大体の年齢
大体の見当

@Aleria, maybe the examples on these Weblio links will help clarify their meanings more?


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In addition to what the others have said, my Japanese friends once told me 大抵 sounds more formal or used more in written language

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Thank you for your input. Adding some clarity to the why the question came about. I was trying to say:

Business meetings are usually very boring.

Looking at Jisho and their descriptions I thought the taitei sounded better because it sounded closer to my meaning than daitai did.

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Yeah that would be correct :+1:

If you were looking for a less formal way of saying it, ほとんど would be more common when speaking casually

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