Open main menu



Kanji in this term
Grade: 2


From Old Japanese.[1][2] Appears in the Man'yōshū poetry compilation, completed circa 759. There are two main theories for its ultimate derivation:

  • May be cognate with (omo, face), from the sense of how one's emotions appear on one's face.[1]
  • May be cognate with (omo, weight), from the sense of weighing different options.[1] Compare similar derivations of English ponder (as in “to weigh; to think”) and ponderous (as in “heavy, weighty”).



思う (intransitive, godan conjugation, hiragana おもう, rōmaji omou, historical hiragana おもふ)

  1. to think, to deem
     (わたし) () (なか)先生 (せんせい)のクラスはとても面白 (おもしろ)かったと (おも)います
    Watashi wa Tanaka-sensei no kurasu wa totemo omoshirokatta to omoimasu.
    I think that Tanaka-sensei's classes were very interesting.

Usage notesEdit

A pattern with which this verb is often used is:

( + ) [sentence] + ( + 思う/思っている).
  • When ending in 思う, the pattern expresses opinions which the speaker holds at the time of speaking.
  • When ending in 思っている, the pattern expresses opinions which the speaker has had since sometime in the past.

While both 思う (omou) and synonym 考える (kangaeru) can be used to mean to think, omou may include more emotional and subjective overtones, whereas kangaeru implies more analytic and objective thought.[1]




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. 2.0 2.1 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN
  3. ^ 1998, NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 (NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: NHK, →ISBN
  4. ^ 1997, 新明解国語辞典 (Shin Meikai Kokugo Jiten), Fifth Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN