Kanji in this term

Grade: 2

Alternative formsEdit


/kupu//kuɸu/ → */kuwu//kuu/

From Old Japanese.[1]

The medial /w/ vanishes because Japanese does not have a /wu/ phoneme. It surfaces though in various conjugations, such as the negative form kuwanai or the passive form kuwareru.

Possibly cognate with (kuchi, mouth).


  • Tokyo pitch accent of conjugated forms of "食う"
Source: Online Japanese Accent Dictionary
Stem forms
Terminal (終止形)
Attributive (連体形)
食う [kúꜜù]
Imperative (命令形) 食え [kúꜜè]
Key constructions
Passive 食われる われ [kùwáréꜜrù]
Causative 食わせる わせ [kùwáséꜜrù]
Potential 食える [kùéꜜrù]
Volitional 食おう [kùóꜜò]
Negative 食わない ない [kùwáꜜnàì]
Negative perfective 食わなかった なかった [kùwáꜜnàkàttà]
Formal 食います いま [kùímáꜜsù]
Perfective 食った った [kúꜜttà]
Conjunctive 食って って [kúꜜttè]
Hypothetical conditional 食えば えば [kúꜜèbà]


() (kuugodan (stem () (kui), past ()った (kutta), historical kana くふ)

  1. to put something in one's mouth
  2. (men's speech, vulgar) to eat, to devour
    Dare de mo hiru ni wa meshi o kuu.
    Everyone eats food at noon.
  3. to make a living, to live; to survive
  4. to tease, to taunt, to make light of, to make fun of; to torment
  5. (of an insect, usually used in the passive) to bite, to sting
    Sakuban wa, ka ni kuwareta.
    I got bitten by a mosquito last night.



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