否 (No) - Meaning and history | Japanese Kanji

Author GokuGoku for article '否 (No) - Meaning and history | Japanese Kanji'

GokuGoku

3 min reading time

JLPT N37 strokes
norefusalrefusedeclinenegationdeny

Kun readings 🇯🇵

いないや

On readings 🇨🇳

否 (No) - Meaning and history | Japanese Kanji

The kanji 否 indicates the denial or refusal.

In fact, the kanji 否 by itself means no, and is the symbol for the term いええ ((いええ)), which is usually written in hiragana.

In this post we learn more about the meaning of 否, its origin, and how it is used through real example sentences.


Origin of the kanji 否

The kanji 否 is made up of two other very common kanji:

  • 不: kanji used as a prefix to indicate a negation, non-
  • 口: kanji which means mouth

In a sense we see how the kanji 否 is the "negation of the mouth", not saying or denying something.

What does kanji mean 否

As mentioned the kanji 否 simply means no.

This kanji is not used much on its own, as いええ ((いええ)) is almost always written with just hiragana.

The kanji 否 is used instead in combination with other kanji to convey the meaning of refusal and negation.

Kanji readings 否

Let's now see the various On and Kun readings that the kanji 否 assumes.

Kun readings of the kanji 否 🇯🇵

いな

Reading いな is used in two grammatical expressions:

  • (いな)か: whether or not
  • (いな)や: the minute (that), not before

いな is also used for the term (いな)む, which means to refuse.

いや

The reading いや is the same as いええ but more colloquial. For this reason, kanji alone can also be read as (いや).

On readings of the kanji 否 🇨🇳

The reading ひ is the most common for the kanji 否, and is used in combination with other kanji. Some examples are:

  • ()(てい): negate (word using the kanji 定)
  • (きょ)(): reject
  • (せい)(): result, success or failure

Examples of the kanji 否

(かれ)(こたえ)は「(いな)」であった。

His answer was 'no'.

(こう)(てい)しても()(てい)しても(ころ)される。

Whether I approve or deny I will be killed.

(まえ)(わたし)()うことを()(てい)するのか?

Do you want to deny what I said?

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