Kanji in this term

Grade: 2


From Old Japanese, from Proto-Japonic *siru.


  • Tokyo pitch accent of conjugated forms of "知る"
Source: Online Japanese Accent Dictionary
Stem forms
Terminal (終止形)
Attributive (連体形)
知る [shìrú]
Imperative (命令形) 知れ [shìré]
Key constructions
Passive 知られる られる [shìrárérú]
Causative 知らせる らせる [shìrásérú]
Potential 知れる れる [shìrérú]
Volitional 知ろう [shìróꜜò]
Negative 知らない らない [shìránáí]
Negative perfective 知らなかった らなかった [shìránáꜜkàttà]
Formal 知ります りま [shìrímáꜜsù]
Perfective 知った った [shìttá]
Conjunctive 知って って [shìtté]
Hypothetical conditional 知れば [shìréꜜbà]


() (shirugodan (stem () (shiri), past ()った (shitta))

Japanese verb pair
active 知る
mediopassive 知れる
  1. to know, be aware of
    Kimu-san no denwa bangō o shitte imasu ka.
    Do you know Kim's telephone number?
    Sumimasen, onamae wa shirimasen.
    I'm sorry, I don't know (your) name.
  2. to learn, acquire,
  3. to be acquainted with, to know (someone)
  4. (colloquial, in the negative) to care in the least about, to be concerned with,
    Sushi piza nanka shiran.
    I couldn't care less for sushi pizza.

Usage notesEdit

When constructing this verb's affirmative present form, the ている construction is used, as in 知っている. However, as an irregularity, when forming its negative present form, the negative form of the いる construction is not, as would be expected, 知っていない, and instead becomes 知らない. Thus, extra care must be exercised when using this term.

This term is contrasted by 分かる, which is used for anything that involves conscious or continuous knowledge, while 知る is used for general facts. For example, the phrase

()(ほん)()()りますNihongo o shirimasu 

would mean "I am acquainted with Japanese" or "I know what the Japanese language is". When saying "I know (have acquired) Japanese"

()(ほん)()()かりますNihongo ga wakarimasu 

is used instead.



  1. ^ 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN
  • 2002, Ineko Kondō; Fumi Takano; Mary E Althaus; et. al., Shogakukan Progressive Japanese-English Dictionary, Third Edition, Tokyo: Shōgakukan, →ISBN.