Friday, September 2, 2022

よう - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, you よう (or yoo, yoo with a long vowel) may mean various different things depending on context, specially as there are multiple homonyms so it may spell different words. For disambiguation:

  • you, literally "appearance," used in "the way it is," homograph with ~sama ~様. It's an auxiliary (like a light noun that conjugates as a na-adjective) that's normally spelled in hiragana, and has various different uses.
    • henji ga nai. tada no shikabane no you da
      There's no response. It seems to be just a corpse.
    • nige-you ga nai
      There's no way of escaping.
    • {{yuurei ga mieru} you ni} naru
      To become {in such way [that] {is able to see ghosts}}.
      To become able to see ghosts.
    • {{anata wo damasu} you na} mane wa shinai
      [I] wouldn't do something {like {deceiving you}}.
    • dono you na?
      What sort of? What sort of [thing is it]? The thing you're talking about is like what?
    • {{sekai ga owatta ka no} you ni} kanjite-ita
      [It] felt {as if {the world had ended}}.
    • {{okane wo nusumu} you na} hito janai
      [He] isn't a person {the sort [that] {would steal money}}.
    • {{hayaku} naorimasu} you ni
      [Let it be so that] {[it] heals {quickly}}. (used when making wishes, praying for things.)
  • you, literally "business," "use." Sometimes spelled in hiragana.
    • nani ka you?
      [Do you have] any business [with me]?
      Do you have something to discuss with me?
    • nan'no you da?
      What business [do you have with me]?
      (same meaning, basically.)
    • omae ni you ga aru
      [I] have business with you.
    • jissen-you no katana
      A sword for real-battle. (as opposed to for training.)
  • ~you ~よう is the ending of some verb types in volitional form.
  • you 要 means "necessity" or "necessary."
    • you suru ni
      In summary. (i.e. to say only what's necessary.)
    • you wa kateba ii-n-da
      In summary, [I] just need to win. (nevermind the details, that's all that's necessary.)
  • you 陽 means "sunshine," or the spot where the sun hits. Also "yang." Meanwhile "ying" is in 陰. Related words are taiyou 太陽, "sun," and kage 陰, "shade."
    • you-kyara (or you-kya)
      陽キャラ (陽キャ)
      "Sunshine character." Slang for a character with "cheerful," youki 陽気, personality. An extrovert. A riajuu リア充. Etc.
    • in-kyara (or in-kya)
      陰キャラ (陰キャ)
      "Shade character." Slang for a character with "gloomy," inki 陰気, personality. An introvert. A hikikomori 引きこもり. Etc.
  • you 良う means "good," "well," a variant of yoku 良く, adverbial form of yoi 良い.
    • youkoso
      • yoku zo kita
        Well done coming [here].
  • you 酔う means "to get drunk." Although you're more likely to see it in the te-iru form: yotte-iru 酔っている, "[he] is drunk."

Ironically, you よう doesn't mean "you," the second person pronoun. For that, yuu ユー would be the katakanization, e.g. ai rabu yuu アイ・ラブ・ユー, "I love you."

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