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Kanji in this term

Grade: 5


From the Middle Chinese noun for vinegar, probably (tsʰuo, vinegar), plus the native Old Japanese adjective suffix (shi, modern i).[1] Appears as early as the late Heian period, in the 今昔物語集 (Konjaku Monogatari Shū, “Anthology of Tales from Today and Yesterday”).

The adjective's older terminal form of sushi remains as the derivation of the modern noun 寿司 (sushi).

The spelling with the kanji is based on synonyms in Chinese: , , and all have senses related to sour, and all three can be used in Japanese to spell su (vinegar).



酸い (-i inflection, hiragana すい, rōmaji sui)

  1. vinegary, sour
    • c. 11201140, Konjaku Monogatarishū
      酒少 (さけすこ) (にご)りてすき (やう)なれど
      sake sukoshi nigorite suki yau naredo
      Although the sake seems a bit cloudy and sour...


Related termsEdit


  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