家内

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Japanese[edit]

Kanji in this term
Grade: 2 Grade: 2

Etymology[edit]

Literally ‘inside the house’ from the Sino-Japanese (on'yomi) readings of (か, ka, house) + (ない, nai, inside).

Noun[edit]

家内 (hiragana かない, romaji kanai)

  1. (one's own) wife

Synonyms[edit]

  • (one’s own wife): (more gender-neutral) (つま, tsuma)
  • (another’s wife): 奥さん (おくさん, okusan)

Usage notes[edit]

This word should only be used in reference to the speaker’s own wife, whereas 奥さん (okusan) is a polite term used to refer to someone else’s wife.

(tsuma) is a more general term for a wife, and can also mean spouse.

家内 is offensive to some, literally meaning “in the house”, thus carrying connotations of traditional gender roles; in this case, is preferred.