可笑しい

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Japanese[edit]

Kanji in this term
Grade: 5 Grade: 4
Irregular

Etymology[edit]

Two derivations appear to have credence.[1]

  • From noun (woko, modern reading oko, foolishness, ridiculousness, outrageousness). The sense development would have been laughable, funny, odd.
  • Similar to the formation of 床しい (yukashii, elegant, refined, admirable; reminiscent, in accordance with) from verb 行く (yuku, to go), from the sense of having a quality to make one want to go towards, from verb 招く (woku, modern reading oku, to invite others closer, to draw others closer). The sense development would have been inviting, amusing, funny, odd.

Considering the sense grouping, it appears that this might be a fusion of derivations, or of influence. The now-obsolete senses pertaining to interesting first arise in the late Heian period[2] and would seem to fit the latter verb derivation. There are several other adjectives with similar derivation patterns, as [VERB STEM] + -ashii or -oshii.

Meanwhile, the current senses pertaining to funny and odd first appear earlier in the Heian period[1] and would seem to fit the former noun derivation.

The spelling is an example of jukujikun (熟字訓), using the characters (-able) + (laugh), likely borrowed from written Chinese 可笑 (laughable, funny, ridiculous).

Adjective[edit]

可笑しい (-i inflection, hiragana おかしい, rōmaji okashii, historical hiragana をかしい)

  1. funny:
    1. funny, laughable
      あのピエロの (うご)きは、可笑 (おか)しい
      Ano piero no ugoki wa, okashii.
      That clown's behavior is funny.
    2. strange, odd
      彼女 (かのじょ)可笑 (おか)しいけど綺麗 (きれい)だ。
      Kanojo wa okashii kedo kirei da.
      She is strange but pretty.
    3. unreasonable, illogical
      追試 (ついし)をしても証明 (しょうめい)できなければ、その論文 (ろんぶん)可笑 (おか)しい
      Tsuishi o shite mo shōmei dekinakereba, sono ronbun wa okashii.
      The report is unreasonable if even the supplementary examination cannot prove it.
  2. (obsolete) interesting:
    1. interesting
    2. tasteful
    3. beautiful and attractive
    4. excellent, superb

Inflection[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

The 可笑しい spelling has become rare in modern usage, superseded by the hiragana spelling おかしい.

Similar to 小さい (chīsai, small) and 大きい (ōkii), this adjective also has an adnominal form 可笑しな (okashina) that only attaches to nouns, and that cannot be used as the predicate of a sentence.

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