(uncommon “Hyōgai” kanji)
- mouse, rat, other similar rodent
Originally a compound of 根 (ne, “root”, more specifically signifying somewhere hidden away) + 住み (sumi, the 連用形 (ren'yōkei, “continuative or stem form”) of verb 住む sumu, “to live in a place, to reside”), meaning roughly “one who lives in hidden places”. The sumi changes to zumi as an instance of rendaku (連濁).
鼠 (hiragana ねずみ, katakana ネズミ, rōmaji nezumi)
- (zoology) a mouse, a rat
- general term for members of superfamily Muroidea, including mice, rats, voles, hamsters, gerbils, and other similar rodents
- short for 鼠色 (nezumi iro): the colour grey, sometimes more specifically a dark grey colour
Japanese does not generally distinguish between mice and rats, and both are commonly called nezumi. If a distinction is needed, speakers may use the adjectives 大きい (ōkii, “large”) or 小さい (chīsai, “small”), or may use the word マウス (mausu, “mouse”, borrowed from either German or English).
As with many terms that name organisms, this term is often spelled in katakana in biological contexts, as ネズミ.
Note that, although the Japanese term 子年 (nezumidoshi, nedoshi) for The Year of the Rat in the Chinese zodiac does derive from this same nezumi term, it is not written with this 鼠 kanji.
Abbreviation of nezumi. Used in some compounds.
鼠 (hiragana ねず, rōmaji nezu)
- a mouse, a rat
Contracted from nezumi. Used in some compounds.
鼠 (hiragana ね, rōmaji ne)
- a mouse, a rat
- ^ 1998, NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 (NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: NHK, ISBN 978-4-14-011112-3
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 1988, 国語大辞典（新装版） (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, ISBN 4-385-13905-9