Etymology 1Edit

Alternative spelling


From Old Japanese. Found in the Nihon Shoki, completed around 720 CE.[1]


  • Tokyo pitch accent of conjugated forms of "居る"
Source: Online Japanese Accent Dictionary
Stem forms
Terminal (終止形)
Attributive (連体形)
居る [ìrú]
Imperative (命令形) 居ろ [ìró]
Key constructions
Passive 居られる られる [ìrárérú]
Causative 居させる させる [ìsásérú]
Potential 居られる られる [ìrárérú]
Volitional 居よう [ìyóꜜò]
Negative 居ない ない [ìnáí]
Negative perfective 居なかった かった [ìnáꜜkàttà]
Formal 居ます [ìmáꜜsù]
Perfective 居た [ìtá]
Conjunctive 居て [ìté]
Hypothetical conditional 居れば [ìréꜜbà]


いる (iruゐる (wiru)? intransitive ichidan (stem (i), past いた (ita))

  1. (of animate objects) to exist, to be
    Suzuki desu ga, Tanaka-san imasu ka?
    This is Suzuki calling; may I speak to Tanaka?
    (literally, “[This] is Suzuki; is Tanaka present?”)
    anata ga inai to nani mo dekinai
    I can't do anything if you aren't here/there
    kimi ga ita natsu
    the summer you were there [with me; by my side]
    kimi to ita natsu
    the summer [I] was with you
  2. (of animate objects) to have
    Kareshi imasu ka?
    Do you have a boyfriend?
  3. Used as a 補助動詞 (hojo dōshi), after a verb in the (-te) conjunctive form. Note that いる (-te iru) colloquially shortens to てる (-teru), いた (-te ita) colloquially shortens to てた (-teta), etc.
    1. Indicates a progressive or continuative tense: to be doing
      Asagohan o tabete imasu ka?
      Are you eating breakfast [now]?
    2. Indicates a regular, repetitive action.
      Asagohan o tabete imasu ka?
      Are you eating breakfast these days?
      This is equivalent to using the simple non-past form of verbs (e.g. 食べます (tabemasu ka) = 食べています (tabete imasu ka)).
    3. Indicates a state resulting from the action.
      Kabe ni wa e ga kakatte iru.
      There is a picture hanging in the wall.
  4. (obsolete) to sit
    • c. late 9th–mid-10th century, Taketori Monogatari
      Sore wo mireba, sansun bakari naru fito ito utukusiute witari (Classical pronunciation)
      Sore o mireba, sansun bakari naru hito ito utsukushūte itari. (modern pronunciation)
      When he looked at it, there sat a very lovely human being about three sun long.
  • (dialectal) おる (oru)
  • ある (aru, of inanimate objects: to be)

Etymology 2Edit

For pronunciation and definitions of いる – see the following entries.
[verb] to be necessary
[verb] fry, broil
Alternative spellings
炒る, 熬る
[verb] cast, mint
[verb] shoot
[verb] (rare) shoot
[verb] to go in; to come in
(This term, いる, is an alternative spelling of the above terms.)


  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