See also: 什麽, 甚麼, 甚麽, and 什么


tenth (used in fractions) dimi.
trad. (什麼/甚麼/什麽/甚麽) / /
simp. (什么)
alternative forms
拾沒拾没 obsolete
是物 obsolete
是勿 obsolete
是沒是没 obsolete
甚物 obsolete
拾沒拾没 obsolete
是物 obsolete
是勿 obsolete
是沒是没 obsolete
甚物 obsolete
甚沒甚没 obsolete
甚摩 obsolete
甚謨甚谟 obsolete
什摩 obsolete


Corruption of medieval 是物 (MC d͡ʑiᴇX mɨut̚, “why”) (Yuan et al., 1996: 318–324) or 什物 (MC d͡ʑiɪp̚ mɨut̚, “miscellaneous items”) (Norman, 1988; Zhang, 1982).


Note: Many other variant pronunciations exist.



  1. (interrogative) what
    什麼 / 什么  ―  Zhè shì shénme?  ―  What is this?
    平時喜歡什麼 [MSC, trad.]
    平时喜欢什么 [MSC, simp.]
    Nǐ píngshí xǐhuān zuò shénme? [Pinyin]
    What do you like doing in your spare time?
    知道什麼 [MSC, trad.]
    知道什么 [MSC, simp.]
    Wǒ bù zhīdào tā shì shénme rén. [Pinyin]
    I don't know what kind of person he is.
  2. something
    什麼 / 什么  ―  Nǐ xiǎng chī diǎn shénme ma?  ―  Would you like something to eat?
  3. anything; whatever
    什麼知道 / 什么知道  ―  shénme dōu bù zhīdào.  ―  I don't know anything
    什麼 / 什么  ―  shénme yě bù pà.  ―  I'm not afraid of anything.
    可以什麼什麼 [MSC, trad.]
    可以什么什么 [MSC, simp.]
    Tā kěyǐ xiǎng zuò shénme jiù zuò shénme. [Pinyin]
    He can do whatever he wants.
  4. (used to express surprise or anger) what
    什麼事兒 / 什么事儿  ―  Gàn de shì shénme shìr!  ―  What a thing to do!
  5. (used before an enumeration) thing like; such as; and so on; and what not
  6. (used to express disapproval, disagreement)


Derived termsEdit


  • Translingual: Yiminaspis shenme


Kanji in this term

Alternative spelling


From spoken Middle Chinese 恁麼 (nyimX muɑ, what?, archaic, literally think + something tiny and insignificant).[1] The spelling shifted to include the Chinese synonym 什麼 (modern Mandarin reading of shénme), while keeping the inmo reading for 恁麼, instead of the expected shūma reading for 什麼.

Imported into Japanese by Zen monks who had studied in China.[1] Generally restricted to use by Zen practitioners.[2]


  • (Irregular reading)


(いん)() (inmo

  1. (rare) what
    Tenchi to ware to inmo no kōshō ka aru.
    What is the relation between the universe and me?

Usage notesEdit

Generally followed by the possessive particle (no) and used as an adnominal, with a meaning of what kind of.


  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