可愛い

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Japanese[edit]

Kanji in this term
Grade: 5 Grade: 4
Irregular

Etymology 1[edit]

From kawayui (see below).

The kanji spelling 可愛い is an example of ateji, and uses an irregular reading of . The phonological resemblance to Mandarin 可愛 (kě'ài, lovable) is coincidental. Note that the medial -w- here is not an excrescence added between ka () and ai (), since the word is not formed from these morphemes.

Pronunciation[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

Often spelled in hiragana.

Adjective[edit]

可愛い (-i inflection, hiragana かわいい, romaji kawaii, historical hiragana かはいい)

  1. lovable, adorable, cute
Inflection[edit]
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

A contraction of 顔映し /kahahayushi/ > /kahayushi/. Medial /ha/ becomes [wa] via synchronic phonological processes. It is unclear if the word before contraction was initially realized as *[kahahayushi] or as *[kawawayushi].

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (Irregular reading)
  • (Tokyo) わゆ [kàwáyúì] (Nakadaka - [3])[1]
  • IPA(key): [ka̠ɰᵝa̠jɯᵝi]

Adjective[edit]

可愛い (-i inflection, hiragana かわゆい, romaji kawayui, historical hiragana かはゆい)

  1. embarrassed, having a guilty conscience: see 顔映し (kawahayushi).
  2. (obsolete) pitiable, pitiful
    • 1632, Diego Collado, Dictionarium sive thesauri linguae Iaponicae compendium
      Miſerabilis, e: coſa que cauſa laſtima, cavaij.
      (Latin:) Wretched; (Spanish:) thing that causes pity, kawaii.
  3. lovable, adorable, cute
Inflection[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, ISBN 4-385-13905-9