Ten Days Monolingual Mission

I thought it would be a good exercise to set myself a small achievable Japanese goal to keep me trucking along. I'm going to look up a new word in a monolingual dictionary for the next ten days. I want to improve my reading for comprehension and get more use to dictionary definition vocab.


1. Monday - 内外 「ないがい」

Looking at the Kanji this one can definitely be guessed!

a.「名詞」 内と外。 例 部屋の内外の温度差。

Ok first definition, pretty easy.

「名詞」 めいし this means noun. So it's the name of something.

内と外  うちとそと inside and outside. That's a pretty simple definition. I don't think we have a word for this in English. Cool.

例 れい this means example. In this case example sentence.

部屋の内外の温度差 へやのないがいのおんどさ。 I didn't know the last word here. Normally it would be good to look up the unknown definition word in the dictionary but I accidentally looked up the definition with Rikaichan. It means temperature difference. So the total sentence is pretty easy "The temperature difference of the inside and outside of the room."

b.「名詞」 国内と国外。 例 内外のニュース。

Pretty straightforward too! 国 means country, so it's inside and outside the country.
And the example sentence is "News inside and outside the country."

c.「接尾語」 (数などを表すことばのあとにつけて) 。。。くらい 。。。前後 例 千円内外の品

「接尾語」 せつびご  suffix (a thing that's added to the end of the word). I didn't know how to read this kanji so I used the IME to manually draw it out and then search for it.

数などを表すことばのあとにつけて Attached to the ends of things like numbers. I do not get all the nuance of this sentence - not sure about this bit 表すことば fully but I get it well enough. I need to be aware that I don't get it all so I can pick up the meaning in the future.

。。。くらい 。。。前後 about and  ぜんご around

 千円内外の品 Goods of around 1000円

The meaning is pretty obvious here - but I haven't seen this before so I certainly won't be trying to produce it.

2. Tuesday - 病没 「びょうぼつ」

This one is pretty morbid, but easy.

a. 「名詞」「動詞」 病気で死ぬこと。病死。

「名詞」「動詞」 めいし どうし it's noun and a verb.

病気で死ぬこと 「びょうきでしぬこと」 the event of death by illness


病 死 「びょうし」 rikaichan says this means "natural death" but I'm not so sure about that. So let's look it up 病死 - 病気で死ぬこと。 Well there we go; according to the Japanese dictionary it means death by illness. There could also be the meaning of natural death in there - but I'm not going to put any faith in it for now.

3. Wednesday - 食前 「しょくぜん」

I spent a while flipping around looking for an easy one. Which definitely doesn't hurt because I read a lot more definitions that way :D

This one is really easy - especially if you already know the kanji (which you do right - How to learn the Japanese alphabets better than most natives in only three months!) the first kanji's basic meaning is eat and the second is before, but them together - before eating.  Let's check the definition out anyway.

a.「名詞」 食事をする前。 例 食前に手を洗う。 対 食後。

It's a noun. 食事 means meal or to eat, so  食事をする  means before eating.

Example sentence is pretty simple - Before eating wash hands.


対  「たい」 this is a new symbol - it means opposite. So the opposite to before eating, that's going to be after eating 食後 the eating kanji with the after/later kanji. Amazingly straight forward!

4. Thursday - みぞれ

No kanji which makes it harder to guess a meaning! I was attracted to this word because it had a little dictionary marker I hadn't seen before (季語:冬).

a.「名詞」 「季語:冬」 雪がとけかかって降るもの。雨混じり雪。

First off it's a noun.

季語:冬  きご:ふゆ this is marker I'd not seen before, it means seasonal word : winter. It's a marker for words used in haiku (俳句) poems.

What jumps out next for me is "とけかかって" it's a string of kana and I don't understand it :D But with a little help from Google translate and Google I get 溶けかかって which means "to start to melt". The full translation is therefore something like "snow that melts as it falls". A quick youtube search turns up this. In English I guess we'd say sleet.

雨混じり雪。 Rain mixed with snow.

5. Friday - 盲目 「もうもく」

I saw this one in the newspaper and already had a good idea of the meaning.

1.「名詞」 目が見えないこと。

A noun meaning "the state where the eyes can't see" - blindness, nice and straight forward!


6. Saturday -  挑戦 「ちょうせん」

Feeling lazy on the weekend so I'm using Sanseido for my definition and I've taken this word from asahishunbun. It was used in relation to a crossword.

a. 戦いをいどむこと.

to challenge to a fight

b. 困難にいどむこと.

to challenge a difficulty (I assume in order to overcome that difficulty. So face up to a difficultly would be my feeling)

◇ (類)チャレンジ

類「るい」 Kind / sort of / class
Then the Katakana word for challenge.
三省堂 doesn't have example sentences. So I'm going to just turn to Google.
ギネス世界記録への挑戦
This is a headline but it's pretty straight forward "Challenge for the Guinness world record"

7. Sunday - 逆さ 「さかさ」

This has a nice sound to it. And surprisingly despite this being pretty  common I didn't know it. In English it means inside-out.
逆.反対.Opposite meaning: Opposite. This is interesting because I'd never consider "opposite"'s opposite to be "inside out" and that's obviously because it doesn't map well into English. There's some nuance that's lost! Obviously in Japanese opposite and inside out are opposites.

a. 音の順序を逆にしていう言葉. *コレをレコというなど.

In words when sounds change the order - kore and reko.

b. 意味を逆にしていう言葉. *「楽しい」を「つまらない」というなど.

When a meaning is reversed - fun and boring.
▼~富士(ふじ)
水面にさかさまに映った富士山. In the surface of the water was the reflection of Mount Fuiji.

8. Monday -「きゅうらく 」

This is quite easy to read from the kanji [fast][fall].

a. 物価・相場が急に下がること.

When commodities / stocks suddenly fall.
(対)急騰
Opposite : きゅうとう sudden rise

9. Tuesday - 重荷

I can only tell what this after reading the definition but it's work-outable :D
 「名詞」 a noun

a.  重い荷物。

Heavy luggage

b. 自分の力以上の仕事や責任。

A job or duty beyond your power / ability.
例 会長の役は僕には重荷だ。
 The president's campaign is too much for me!

10. Wednesday - 御来光 「ごらいこう 」

I saw a lot of easy ones but this word is the one I finally decided on. There was an interesting sidebar describing what Columbus Egg is which I didn't fully understand. Anyway this is another word used in haiku(俳句).

a. 「名詞」 「季語:夏」 高い山の頂上から見る日の出。

So it's a noun and a haiku word used for summer. To see the sun rise from the summit of a tall mountain. (like you're standing on the mountain).

例: 御来光を拝む。
to pray (to the?) sun rise from a tall mountain summit


And that's it - ten day sprint over. I think for my next ten day mission I'm going to play 1 hour of Japanese computer games a day (I have a meeting in London this week so I may have to lose one day).
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