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In connection with site closure, database functions will cease on 31 August 2016. A file containing 6000+ etymological interpretations is available for download here


Online Japanese Chinese Kanji Character Dictionary
A comprehensive, illustrated dictionary with etymologies, pictographs & definitions in English, displaying also Hiragana and Katakana, the Kana used in Nihongo


Comprehensive Online Japanese Chinese Kanji Character Dictionary of Dictionaries
Japanese English Kanji Word DictionaryKanji Stroke Order Count Word DictionaryKanji Radical Word DictionaryKanji (Hiragana & Katakana) ON Word DictionaryKanji (Hiragana & Katakana) KUN Word DictionaryChinese Kanji Character Word Family DictionaryJapanese (Nihongo) Kanji Character Word Dictionary Glossary
Kanji Kana English  






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  The element at left combines the character "small" with what was originally a depiction of a pendent, twisted bean vine, the combination suggesting a slender, hanging vine. The element at right is hand/action indicator. This total combination of elements indicates "pick beans from a slender, hanging vine." Uncle (originally, with specific reference to the younger brother of one’s father) is an extended meaning via the image of a younger sibling at the end of a figurative family vine. Watch kanji video »
Slender and pendent
adds water to indicate a gentle cascade, likened to water hanging from a cliff. Graceful is an associated meaning, with pure and good by extension.
adds roof/building to indicate a desolate building, where silence hangs in the air. Thus the meanings still, desolate, deserted, lonely, lacking, and sad.
adds person (suggesting human agency) to indicate "arrange by hanging." Thus the meaning arrange. "Beginning" is by association in the sense of the first step in arranging.
Slender and pendent
adds eye to suggest "watch over, the eyes figuratively hanging overhead." Thus the meanings supervise and command.
adds tree/wood to indicate a species of Zanthoxylum, the berries of which hang on panicles. These berries are used in making Sichuan pepper. Japanese pepper (tree) is by association.
adds leg/foot to indicate a crippled leg hanging from the torso. Take short steps is an associated meaning, in the sense of the restricted length of the steps of one with a crippled leg.
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