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Japanese Hiragana kyokashotai U.svg
U+3046, う
HIRAGANA LETTER U

[U+3045]
Hiragana
[U+3047]

Japanese[edit]

Stroke order
2 strokes

Etymology 1[edit]

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

Pronunciation[edit]

Syllable[edit]

(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.

Suffix[edit]

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

  1. Expressing one's will to do something.
    そろそろ(かえ)Sorosoro kaerō.I'll return before long.
    ()(つだ)か。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.
  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. (followed by する (to suru)) to try to do; to attempt to do
    (たん)(じょう)()ケーキを(つく)うとしています。
    Tanjōbi-kēki o tsukurō to shite imasu.
    I'm trying to bake a birthday cake.
  4. (followed by する (to suru)) to be about to do; to be on the verge of doing
    ゲームを(あそ)うとしたとき、電話(でんわ)がかかった。
    Gēmu o asobō to shita toki, denwa ga kakatta.
    The phone rang as I was about to play the game.
  5. (archaic) Presenting a supposition.
    Synonyms: だろう (darō), でしょう (deshō)
    そんなことはなかろ
    Sonna koto wa nakarō.
    There's probably no such thing.
  6. (followed by (ga) or (to), often in parallel) whetheror
    それが「近代化(きんだいか)」であろとなかろ(かま)わない。
    Sore ga “kindaika” de arō to nakarō to kamawanai.
    It doesn't matter whether it is "modernization" or not.
Usage notes[edit]

Attaches by changing the -u of godan verbs to (spelled -ou in modern kana, -au in historical kana). The polite auxiliary -masu changes to -mashō (spelled -mashou in modern kana, -maseu in historical kana). The Tokyo accent falls on the penultimate mora regardless of the underlying verb.

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

This ending also attaches to adjectives and negative forms of verbs but the meaning is restricted to the conjectural sense. To express volition not to do something you can use the まい (-mai) ending or express it in another way: やめよう (… no o yameyō, let's give up doing something) or ないようよう (…nai yō ni shiyō, let's decide that we don't do something).

In traditional Japanese grammar, this is a 助動詞 (jodōshi, auxiliary verb) attaching to the 未然形 (mizenkei, irrealis form). The ending itself has the sole form (u) as its 終止形 (shūshikei, terminal form) and 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.
1
[prefix] right (direction)
[prefix] (politics) right-wing
[prefix] (baseball) right fielder
[prefix] (historical, government) "of the right", junior or subordinate to (sa-, of the left)
1
[affix] rain
[affix] (figuratively) something falling like rain
[affix] (figuratively) favor, blessing
2
[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
3
[affix] exist
[affix] This term needs a translation to English.
[noun] This term needs a translation to English.
6
[counter] Counter for buildings, roofs, etc.
[affix] eaves; roof; house; building
[affix] the whole world; universe
J
[affix] crow; raven
[affix] black; dark
[affix] (figuratively) sun
[affix] A Chinese interrogative for rhetorical questions.
J
[affix] roundabout; detour
[affix] ignorant
H
[affix] roundabout
(This term, , is an alternative spelling of the above Sino-Japanese terms.
For a list of all kanji read as , not just those used in Japanese terms, see Category:Japanese kanji read as う.)

Etymology 4[edit]

For pronunciation and definitions of – see the following entry.
J
[noun] a cormorant (seabird of the family Phalacrocoracidae)
[proper noun] a surname
Alternative spelling
(This term, , is an alternative spelling of the above term.
For a list of all kanji read as , not just those used in Japanese terms, see Category:Japanese kanji read as う.)

Etymology 5[edit]

Suffix[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 (mattō suru).