Etymology 1Edit

Alternative spelling

From Old Japanese[1], from Proto-Japonic *etu. Appears in the Man'yōshū, completed some time after 759 CE.[2]

The presence of other Old Japanese indefinites beginning with (i) suggests a possible shared root of (i, possibly “what” or “which”), as in 如何 (ikaga, how), 何処 (izuko, where), 幾ら (ikura, how many, how much).

Likely cognate with eastern Old Japanese word idu (modern idzu or izu, “where”), still used in modern Japanese as part of the word いずれ (izure, which).



いつ (itsu

  1. when
    Itsu nihon e kimashita ka.
    When did you come to Japan?
Usage notesEdit
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

For pronunciation and definitions of いつ – see the following entries.
[noun] one
[noun] the same
[affix] one, 1
[affix] first, foremost
[affix] group
[affix] entirely, wholly
[affix] other
[affix] merely, only
[proper noun] a female given name
[noun] (literary) ease, comfort
[affix] escape, flee, break loose
[affix] leisure, ease
[affix] lost, not known in the world
[affix] excellent, outstanding
[affix] overflow
[affix] excessive
[noun] (literary) ease
[affix] ease; comfort
[affix] lost; unknown
(This term, いつ, is an alternative spelling of the above Sino-Japanese terms.
For a list of all kanji read as いつ, not just those used in Japanese terms, see Category:Japanese kanji read as いつ.)


  1. ^ 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. ^ c. 759, Man'yōshū (book 15, poem 3705), text here
  3. ^ 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN
  4. ^ 1998, NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 (NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: NHK, →ISBN
  5. ^ 1997, 新明解国語辞典 (Shin Meikai Kokugo Jiten), Fifth Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN