可愛い

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Japanese[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

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 可愛い on Japanese Wikipedia
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 Kawaii on Wikipedia
Kanji in this term

Grade: 5
あい > わい
Grade: 4
Irregular

Shift in pronunciation from kawayui below.[1]

The kanji spelling 可愛い is an example of ateji (当て字), and uses an irregular reading of . The phonological resemblance to Chinese 可愛 (lovable, Mandarin kě'ài, Min Nan khó-ài) 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]

  • (Irregular reading)

Adjective[edit]

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

  1. lovable, adorable, cute
    • 1988 October 20, Adachi, Mitsuru, “だい22 こころ [Chapter 22: Maria’s Heart]”, in スローステップSLOW STEP [SLOW STEP], volume 3 (fiction, in Japanese), Tokyo: Shogakukan, ISBN 4-09-132523-8, page 149:
      あなた () (わる)くない
      Anata me waruku nai
      You have very bad eyesight, don’t you?
      バカなこというなよ ボクサーだぜ  ()のよさは () (がみ)つきだよ きみのほうがぜったいにかわいいよ!
      Baka na koto iu na yo Bokusā da ze Me no yosa wa origamitsuki da yo Kimi no hō ga zettai ni kawaii yo!
      That’s ridiculous! I’m a boxer! I have certifiably flawless eyesight! You definitely are prettier!
      はい はい
      Hai hai
      Sure, sure
    • 2000 August 10, Andō, Yūma; Asaki, Masashi, “BREAKブレイク.39 つうこんくにみつ [BREAK.39 When Kunimitsu Has Remorse‥]”, in サイコメトラーEIJIエイジ [Psychometrer EIJI], volume 24 (fiction, in Japanese), Tokyo: Kodansha, ISBN 4-06-312869-5:
      でも—— () (わい)ですね このジンガイのガキ
      Demo—— kawaii desu ne kono jingai no gaki
      However—— this foreign kid’s pretty cute, don’t ya think
      チッ ロリコンが
      Chih rorikon ga
      Yeesh, you pedophile
    • 2012 May 4, “ざんぎゃくさのしょう [Triumph of Cruelty]”, in アヴァシンの帰還 [Avacyn’s Return] (in Japanese), Wizards of the Coast:
      あんたより () (わい) () (たい)はたくさん ()てきたわよ、 (じゅう) () (どう) ()さん。
      Anta yori kawaii shitai wa takusan mitekita wa yo, jūmadōshi-san.
      I’ve seen corpses prettier than you, beastmage.
Inflection[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

Often spelled in hiragana.

Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Kanji in this term
Grade: 5 Grade: 4
Irregular

A contraction of classical 顔映し /kahahayushi//kahayushi/.[1] 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)

Adjective[edit]

可愛い (-i inflection, hiragana かわゆい, rōmaji 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 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. 2.0 2.1 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, ISBN 4-385-13905-9