Editorial policy

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JMdict/EDICT Editorial Policy and Guidelines

These guidelines are intended for people preparing new entries or amendments for the JMdict/EDICT files. Typically these entries or amendments will be made through the form associated with the WWWJDIC server, or the amendment form within that server.

Before Starting

Before proposing a new entry or an amendment, you should:

  • familiarize yourself with the style of the dictionary, particularly the way the English meanings are typically worded;
  • make very sure it is not already an entry. An amazing number of "new" entries turn out to be in the dictionary already, or variants of existing entries;
  • check you have written it correctly. Has it the correct kanji? Is the reading correct, with the vowel length right, ず/づ issues resolved, etc.?
  • verify the source. There are excellent online dictionaries available, e.g. the Sanseido dictionaries at the Goo site. The Eijiro dictionary at the ALC site is also useful. If the word or phrase can't be found in a dictionary, WWW references to where it is used may suffice, but the meaning and context has to be clear. Dictionary and other reference information should be included in the "Reference" section in the form.
  • verify that the word or phrase is common enough to include in the dictionary. Page counts for Google or Yahoo are useful for this purpose. In general unless a word or phrase has more than about 50 hits on the WWW, it is not worth submitting.

Dictionary Entry Fields


The Headword section of the entry contains the form of the Japanese word/phrase which contains kanji or letters from non-Japanese scripts (e.g. MP3プレーヤー). If a word is written entirely in kana. it is included here as well. The headword should written in full-width characters (e.g. It is not MP3プレーヤー).

There may be more than one version of the word or phrase in the Headword section. The usual reasons for having more than one version are:

  • alternative kanji in the word, e.g. 合気道 and 合氣道
  • variations in okurigana, e.g., 生け花 and 生花
  • part of a word being written either in kanji or kana, e.g., 言い付ける and 言いつける
  • different transliterations of 外来語, e.g., ダイヤモンド and ダイアモンド

Synonyms should not be included here.Instead they should be entered as separate dictionary entries, and a cross-reference inserted to them.

Some other points to note:

  • in the case of na-adjectives (形容動詞), the な is NOT included in the headword (some Japanese dictionaries include it.) Use a part-of-speech of "adj-na".
  • as most adverbs are derived from either regular adjectives (く form) or na-adjectives (に), there is no need to have an entry unless the adverb is not apparent from the adjective.
  • for verbs formed from adding する to a noun, do not include the する in the headword - instead use the part-of-speech of "vs". The exception to this is the group of single-kanji-plus-する verbs such as 愛する. For these include the complete verb and use the "vs-s" part-of-speech.
  • for adverbs that are indicated by と, e.g. まざまざと, do not include the と, instead note the part-of-speech as "adv-to".
  • for adjectives that use たる (and と in the avderbial form), e.g. 依然たる, 依然と, omit the たる and と and use "adj-t" as the part-of-speech.


In this section enter the reading of the Headword. Readings associated with kanji should be in hiragana; the only exception being Chinese words and names, which are often transliterated using katakana. More than one reading can be entered where alternatives are possible. Where alternative readings are restricted to particular variants of the Headword, note this in the Comments field.

Please note:

  • if the Headword contains katakana, use katakana in the Reading as well for the matching portion.
  • do not use the Reading field if the Headword is entirely in kana.

Part of Speech

The entry form allows up to four "part of speech" tags to be selected. Select those which are appropriate.


The Miscellaneous section contains tags indicating additional information about the entry. Most are self-evident, but select them with caution.

English Meanings

The English Meanings section contains one or more short translations of the Japanese word or phrase.

  • where the Japanese has more than one distinct meaning, break the section into "senses" by putting (1), (2), etc. in front of the first translation in each sense.
  • do not use capital letters unless referring to a proper name (person, place, etc.)
  • do not precede the meaning with the articles "a" or "the" inless it is absolutely necessary to make the meaning clear.
  • when entering the scientific name of a plant, animal, etc. put it in brackets after the first common English name, e.g. "spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus)". Note that the first word of the scientific name will have a capital letter.
  • when entering a verb, use the infinitive in English (to run, to jump, etc.)
  • make each translation a separate item, i.e. place them on different lines in the form. This makes reverse look up and exact match on the English possible. Some examples:
    • abbreviations: "three letter acronym; TLA" not "three letter acronym (TLA)"
    • conjunctions: "rice field; rice paddy" not "rice field or paddy"
  • put any context in brackets, e.g.: "consulting (the oracle)" not "consulting the oracle".
  • when indicating a field or domain for an entry, e.g., "comp" or "ling", put it in braces at the front of the first English field. For example:
    • {comp} floating-point
  • for adjectives, the English entry should be just the adjective, not the adjective and copula:
    • "lucky" not "be lucky" or "is lucky"
  • when using "e.g." to expand on the meaning of a word by giving examples, or when using "i.e." to qualify the meaning of a word, place the expansion in parentheses after the initial translation. For example say "hand game (e.g. rock, paper, scissors)", not "hand game, e.g. rock, paper, scissors". Also, do not include a comma after e.g. or i.e.
  • where the part-of-speech includes "vs", i.e. the Japanese word will function as a verb with the addition of する, enter the English meaning as a noun or participle; not as a verb. See the 料理 entry, which has: "cooking; cookery; cuisine", not "cook". (If the POS is "vs" alone, then it is OK to have the meaning as a verb, but such occurrences are rare.)

Word Source

Don't do this for (i) common Sino-Japanese vocbaulary, (ii) English loan-words where the first translation listed is the source word.


Cross-references must refer to other dictionary entries. Enter one or more headwords, and where the reference is to a particular headword/reading combination, use the format: kanji・reading, e.g., 金本位・かねほんい.

Most cross-references will be synonyms, references to the full form (in the case of abbreviations), words from which the entry is derived, etc. Where the cross-reference is to an antonym, note this in the Comments.

For new entries, put the cross-reference the box labelled "Cross Reference". There is no need to add "See ..." as this is done automatically when the entry is constructed.

Other Issues/Policies

Merging Entries

On occasions two or more entries may be merged when there grounds for assuming they are variants of each other. The basic principle that is applied is a "two-out-of-three" rule. For the candidate entries, if at least two out of the kanji-headword, reading and meaning fields are the same, the entries may be merged.

Names of biological species

My suggestion for rules for biological species:

  • Whenever possible, both the common name and the scientific name (using binomial nomenclature) of a species should be provided. The preferred format is: common_name (scientific_name), e.g. European magpie (Pica pica). If the common name is unknown, the preferred format is: scientific_name (description), e.g. Mola mola (a species of sunfish).
  • Common names should be written in dictionary form. This means that only proper nouns and proper adjectives should be capitalized, even for officially standardized common names. e.g. "American kestrel", not "American Kestrel".
  • Generic names (and names of higher taxa) are always capitalized; specific epithets are never capitalized. e.g. "Tyrannosaurus rex", not "tyrannosaurus rex" or "Tyrannosaurus Rex"
  • Where applicable, subspecific taxonomic categories should be written out fully using ICZN or ICBN rules.
    • For animal subspecies, this consists of merely writing the subspecific epithet. For example, the cinnamon bear, a subspecies of American black bear, should be submitted as: cinnamon bear (Ursus americanus cinnamomum)
    • For plant subspecies, the abbreviation "subsp." should be used before the subspecific epithet. For example, occluded blindweed, a subspecies of hedge bindweed, should be submitted as: occluded blindweed (Calystegia sepium subsp. erratica)
      • For varieties, the abbreviation "var." must be used.
        • For forms, "f." must be used.
          • Cultivar epithets should capitalized and placed in single quotes. (e.g. Taxus baccata 'Variegata')
  • Do not submit the author name. e.g., raspberry (Rubus idaeus), not raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) (The "L." stands for Linnaeus.)
  • Whenever possible, junior synonyms should not be submitted. Submit only the single scientific name currently accepted as the senior synonym. Wikipedia and The Encyclopedia of Life are good resources for finding the most up-to-date classifications.
  • Submissions should include the Japanese name in kanji, hiragana, and--in the vast majority of cases--katakana. Biological names are very often written in katakana, and thus a (uk) tag is usually warranted. Nevertheless, the katakana reading should always be placed after the hiragana reading. For example, 銭形海豹 [ぜにがたあざらし,ゼニガタアザラシ] (n) (uk) harbor seal (Phoca vitulina)/harbour seal/common seal
  • Names of higher taxa should include the headword written entirely in kanji, even though it may be only rarely used in practice. Reading restrictions will be used where appropriate. For example, セリ科,芹科 [セリか(セリ科),せりか(芹科)] (n) Apiaceae (parsley family of plants)/Umbelliferae
  • When unsure of a kanji headword, it is often easy to determine based on the English translation or the appearance of the species. For example, the white-cheeked pintail (Anas bahamas) is known as ホオジロオナガガモ in Japanese. This word does not appear in any Japanese dictionary, but it is rather obviously written as 頬白尾長鴨. Include a kanji headword whenever it can be determined in this manner, but never guess. ReneMalenfant 21:05, 25 August 2009 (UTC)