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Japanese Hiragana kyokashotai U.png
U+3046, う



Stroke order
2 strokes

Etymology 1[edit]

Derived in the Heian period from writing the man'yōgana kanji in the cursive sōsho style.



(romaji u)

  1. The hiragana syllable (u). Its equivalent in katakana is (u). It is the third syllable in the gojūon order; its position is (a-gyō u-dan, row a, section u).
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

/mu//ũ//u/ → (fused with the /a/ ending in the preceding verb stem) /ɔː//oː/

From Old Japanese (mu). See the entry at よう for more information.


(-u) (in Modern Japanese, no longer pronounced -u but fused with the preceding vowel to make or -yō)

  1. Used to make the volitional form of verbs.
    1. Expressing one's will to do something.
      Sorosoro kaerō.
      I'll return before long.
      Tetsudaō ka.
      Shall I help?
      • (たん)(じょう)()ケーキを(つく)(おも)っています。
        Tanjōbi-kēki o tsukurō to omotte imasu.
        I'm thinking about baking a birthday cake.
      • (たん)(じょう)()ケーキを(つく)としています。
        Tanjōbi-kēki o tsukurō to shite imasu.
        I'm trying to bake a birthday cake.
    2. Inducing or stimulating other person to do something.
      明日(あした )(いっ)(しょ)(がっ)(こう)()
      Ashita issho ni gakkō ni ikō.
      Let's go to school together tomorrow.
    3. (archaic) Presenting a supposition.
      Synonyms: だろう (darō), でしょう (deshō)
      Sonna koto wa nakarō.
      There's probably no such thing.
Usage notes[edit]

Attaches only to the 未然形 (mizenkei, irrealis or incomplete form) of Group I (godan) verbs, with the sound change auō. The pitch of the verb construction falls on the mora before , regardless of the pitch accent of the base verb.

The volitional form of Group II (ichidan) and Group III (irregular) verbs are formed with よう (-yō) instead of (-u).

In traditional Japanese grammar, this is a 助動詞 (jodōshi, auxiliary verb), with the sole form (u) as the 終止形 (shūshikei, terminal form) and the 連体形 (rentaikei, adnominal form). Morphologically, this is an uninflecting inflectional suffix whose proper shape is /oː/ (), attaching to the stem of consonant-stem verbs.

See also[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

For pronunciation and definitions of – see the following entries.
[affix]right (direction)
[affix](politics) right-wing
[affix](baseball) right fielder
[affix](figuratively) something falling like rain
[affix](figuratively) favor, blessing
[noun](music) the fifth and highest note in the Chinese pentatonic scale
[affix]wing (of a bird or insect)
[affix](historical) Short for 出羽 (Dewa-no-kuni): Dewa Province
[counter]Counter for buildings, roofs, etc.
[affix]eaves; roof; house; building
[affix]the whole world; universe
[affix]crow; raven
[affix]black; dark
[affix](figuratively) sun
[affix]A Chinese interrogative for rhetorical questions.
[affix]roundabout; detour
(This term, , is the hiragana spelling of several Sino-Japanese terms.)
For a list of all kanji with on'yomi , not just those used in Sino-Japanese terms, see Category:Japanese kanji with on reading う.

Etymology 4[edit]

For pronunciation and definitions of – see the following entry at .
[noun]a cormorant (seabird of the family Phalacrocoracidae)
[proper noun]a surname
(This term, , is a hiragana spelling of .)

Etymology 5[edit]


(-u) (in Modern Japanese, no longer pronounced -u but fused with the preceding vowel)

  1. Alternative form of (-ku, adverbial suffix of -i adjectives)
    早い (hayai)早う (hayō)
    うれしい (ureshii)うれしゅう (ureshū)
    少ない (sukunai)少のう (sukunō)
Usage notes[edit]

This form of adjectives is now restricted to western Japan. In the standard language it is used in super-polite language before ございます (gozaimasu) and (ぞん)じます (zonjimasu), and also in fossilized words like (まっと)うする (mattōsuru).