Tokyo Damage Report

synonym dictionary update!

OK, here's something I and my teacher have been working on for the past two years:

A sort of "synonym dictionary" to help us gaijin tell Japanese synonyms apart. What are the differences in nuance, and useage?

And more importantly, when are you supposed to use one and not the other?

I made a wiki of this about 18 months ago, but I've been working on it steadily since then. The current version is around three fucking times as big as the wiki. It now has over 400 "clusters" of synonyms – probably around 1,200 words in all.

I've installed the revised syn-dick as a permanent link at the top of this page. Please click the link to go there, or copy this URL somewhere special:


As always, if you think of words that should be included but aren't, let me know. And I'm sure you'll let me know about all the spelling errors.

Also if you find it helpful, please post it on whatever nihongo forums you lurk at. And tell RL friends as well! Thanks.


6 Comments so far

  1. joshua August 14th, 2010 7:54 pm

    Please bear my children.

  2. moooo August 15th, 2010 3:56 am

    Jesus Christ, you are amazing. I will not go so far as to request you to bear my children though. Maybe just half a kid.

  3. TAOISTIC August 16th, 2010 4:11 am

    holy shit how do you even manage handling all this?

    These things are really great, I'm so going to save and print so I could read this

  4. admin August 16th, 2010 5:45 am

    @TAOISTIC: thanks. I’ll put up a downloadable .txt file of this soon, when I up the .txt version of the Seventeen.
    @G: thanks, I’ll include your clarification in the next revision.

  5. Bread August 19th, 2010 6:30 am

    Holy shit dude are you serious, I swear to god you're some kind of punk bearded Japanese robot, an evolved 電子辞書 from the future sent back in time to write a blog about S&M and air-conditioning units and absurdly useful dictionaries

  6. François August 25th, 2010 10:27 pm

    My two cents, in the order I read them :
    仕度=preparing meal
    手品=magic trick, hand trick
    もう一回=one more time (i have no idea of the diff with もう一度, though)
    もういっぺん=もう一度, but in slang. Possibly obsolete, though.
    無鉄砲=rash, reckless, foolhardy
    isn't むち more about ignorance ? (無知)
    役 is used negatively too, in the set expression 役に立たない人
    伸 and 延 are a good example of those same verbs with different writings. Those are usually separated in concrete/physical use (髪を伸ばすextending hair) and abstract use (ステーを延ばす extending one's stay in a hotel)
    金額=price, amount of money
    理屈 is also used in the expression 屁理屈 a.k.a. bullshit reasoning.
    talking about rice, 稲 is the rice plant
    for technique, 術 alone works too. Also, 仕方, 作り方, やり方, etc. for the way to make things. New teaching technique would be 新しい教え方, I guess
    班(はん) is a squad too, or a team or a task force or something
    団 is also used for those volunteer associations called 暴力団 ^_^
    解除 is used to rescind a set of rules, sanctions, etc. Quite official. But quarantine is 検疫
    消す is to erase
    成績 are also marks in a school environment
    通過する is to pass too, but is more litteral (ex: pass a frontier), and is a good example of the combination of too kanji with similar meaning (BTW, 延伸 exists too)
    超越する is about the same, but more for abstract things (ex: surpass somebody)
    侵入 and 潜入 both mean to penetrate (ex: the enemy lines). I think 潜入
     is more hidden, like a SWAT team entering the building where hostages are at.
    侵略 is a regular invasion, by troops.
    騒々しい and 騒がしい are both used in noisy situations, but I don't quite know the difference
    拝む also means "to contemplate", like a stalker his idol of choice, his face like he's looking at God himself
    looking up to a role model is 父(の例・の行い)に倣う(ならう)
    to excel has a variety of other words: 優れる、長ける、卓越する・・・
    補強 is to reinforce
    精巧 is precise as usually used for fine machinery (like the brand name Seiko)
    斎場 is a funeral parlor, but 葬儀場 is used  more frequently
    引き金 is literally a trigger, but I've seen it used as a metaphor too
    切っ掛け(きっかけ) is generally used to explain something triggering something else
    みっともない is kinda like 見苦しい : you don't want to be looking at this
    あっという間 is instantaneously, as is 咄嗟に, 瞬く間に, 瞬間的,即座に, 素早くに, 速やかに・・・
    I really got into that post, but have to go back to work, so I'll go through the rest another day. Thanks, man, this really made my brain work, as opposed to what I'm going back too…

Leave a reply