How do I use gogen allguide to search for the etymology of Japanese words?

As far as I can tell, I'm supposed to input something into the main search bar, but sometimes I get what I'm after, and sometimes I don't.

Is it meant to be for the etymology of Japanese words, kanji, or both?

Also, is it supposed to cover most kanji or words, or does it only cover some of them?

Kanji I tried were 妬, 語 and 婦, and none of them gave entries specifically about those kanji in the first page of hits.

Words I tried included 婦警, 婦長, and 病院, which didn't work, and 羨ましい, which did.

車 is a kanji and a word, and it worked.

  • 1
    The search on that site is a horrible page index search rather than a database search. That's why so many irrelevant results come up. You're probably better off using the あかさた search box on the right. I think it covers words rather than individual kanji. Just a thought, but wouldn't this perhaps be better off in meta or chat?
    – ジョン
    Commented Apr 27, 2012 at 13:30
  • 2
    There are only 2560 entries (although it's being updated). If there is an article for the word you search, it should come up first, if not, it will return anything that contains that word.
    – nkjt
    Commented Apr 27, 2012 at 13:34
  • @ジョン I'd asked on chat. Flaw tried to help, but it didn't seem like he/she used it his/herself.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Apr 27, 2012 at 13:46

1 Answer 1


It's for etymology of Japanese words, not kanji, and since it doesn't have exhaustive coverage, it doesn't have many words where the etymology is (or seems) obvious, or more to do with Chinese characters/morphemes than Japanese ones (admittedly the line can be blurry). 婦警, 婦長, and 病院 are all in that category -- for example, it's interesting and not obvious that 病院 is a calque for the Dutch word for "hospital", created in Japan (iirc), but the two characters (=Sino-Japanese morphemes) that were chosen are pretty transparent in their meaning, so I imagine that covering this one is pretty low on the Gogen Allguide to-do list.

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