常 (Common) - Meaning and history | Japanese Kanji

Author GokuGoku for article '常 (Common) - Meaning and history | Japanese Kanji'

GokuGoku

3 min reading time

JLPT N311 strokes
commonnormalusualordinary

Kun readings 🇯🇵

つねとこ-

On readings 🇨🇳

じょう
常 (Common) - Meaning and history | Japanese Kanji

The kanji 常 means normal, usual, ordinary, common.

常 when paired with another kanji adds the meaning of normal, constant, or usual to the term.

In this post we learn in detail the meaning of 常, its origin, and how it is used through real example sentences.


Origin of the kanji 常

The kanji 常 is made up of 4 radicals. These are (from top to bottom):

  • ⺌: rays of light
  • 冖: roof
  • 口: radical and kanji which means mouth
  • 巾: piece of fabric

What does kanji mean 常

The kanji 常 is used to indicate something constant, ordinary, common. In fact, when the kanji 常 is used in combination with other kanji it adds the meaning of common or ordinary to the meaning of the kanji it is paired with.

The following examples help to clarify its use:

  • (じょう)(じん): common person
  • (じょう)(しき): common sense, well known

Kanji readings 常

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

Kun readings of the kanji 常 🇯🇵

つね

The reading つね is used for the term (つね)に, which means always or constantly, and all the variations of this word.

Some words that use the kanji 常 reading つね are:

  • (つね)()(ごろ): every day, at all times

とこ-

The reading こと is used as a suffix to indicate something perpetual or constant for a long time. This reading is not very common for the kanji 常.

Some words that use the kanji 常 reading とこ are:

  • (こと)(): eternal, without any change

On readings of the kanji 常 🇨🇳

じょう

The reading じょう is the most common and used for the kanji 常. This reading is used for the kanji in combination with other terms to mean normality.

If the kanji to which 常 is paired already has the meaning of "not normal", "special", or "different", then the final term takes on the meaning of not ordinary or not normal

Some words that use the kanji 常 reading じょう are:

  • ()(じょう): emergency
  • ()(じょう): abnormal
  • (せい)(じょう): normality

Examples of the kanji 常

あそこの(みせ)()(じょう)(たか)いよ。

That shop over there has oddly high prices.

(かれ)は、(つう)(じょう)バスで学校(がっこう)()きます。

He usually goes to school by bus.

()(じょう)(べん)(きょう)になりました。

He has acquired an extreme amount of knowledge.

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