わめい【和名】、かんめい【漢名】、がくめい【学名】、えいめい【英名】


■ 和名 Japanese (common) name
■ 漢名 Chinese name
■ 学名 Latin (Linnaean, or scientific) name
■ 英名 English name

These words are used almost exclusively for the different sorts of names of plants and animals (though 英名 also occurs more generally in the same sense of "English name").

The 和名 is the name generally used in Japan, normally written in kana. The 漢名 is the Chinese name, written in kanji; very often this is normally read as the 和名. The 学名 is the internationally accepted Latin, scientific, or Linnaean name. (Particularly for less well known plants or animals, in most Japanese texts the Latin name is reliable; any English name given may not be.)

For example, the following are the names for a familiar garden shrub:
和名:あじさい
漢名:紫陽花 (normally read as あじさい, though dictionaries may cross-reference from しようか)
学名:Hydrangea macrophylla
英名:Hydrangea

There appears to be some "official" pressure to write biological names in katakana, and this is the standard practice in reference books. 大辞林 says under "和名": 通常、片仮名で表記される. This is not, however, reflected in the wider world. A web search at the Japanese search engine Goo produced the following statistics, showing the "official" version in third place:

あじさい11609 hits
紫陽花5330 hits
アジサイ5270 hits


This entry was created by Brian Chandler.


Created 2000-07-11.


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