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Compound of 形容 (keiyō, description; form) +‎ 動詞 (dōshi, verb).[1]



形容動詞 (hiragana けいようどうし, rōmaji keiyō dōshi)

  1. (grammar) specific to Japanese grammar, an adjective with an attributive form that ends in (​-na)

Usage notesEdit

English-language labels for this part of speech are various, and include adjective, adjectival noun, the literal translation of adjectival verb, copular noun, "-na" adjective, and quasi-adjective.

Although this term contains the word 動詞 (dōshi, verb) and some sources compare them to verbs, some people feel that there is nothing intrinsically verb-like about these words in the modern language. Historically, this appellation probably arose due to certain inflectionary endings that derived from verbs, such as なる (naru, homophonic with naru "to become", but actually derived as a contraction of ni aru "to be (in a certain state)").

Japanese has three classes of words that correspond to adjectives in English: 形容動詞 (keiyō dōshi), 形容詞 (keiyōshi), and 連体詞 (rentaishi). There are no generally accepted English translations for these parts of speech, and varying texts adopt different translations. Note that some western texts call 形容詞 (keiyōshi) "adjectival verbs", so take caution when using the literal translation of 形容動詞 (keiyō dōshi).

In more practical and less academic texts, all three of these parts of speech are broadly called “adjectives”, with explanations given for how each type functions.


See alsoEdit


  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
  3. ^ 1997, 新明解国語辞典 (Shin Meikai Kokugo Jiten), Fifth Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN

Further readingEdit