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The Ainu language of the Ainu people is distinct from those of the people around them.

The list is ordered alphabetically by romanization.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


  • aca (アチャ) - father; uncle; a middle-aged man (Ainu aca may mean either "father" or "uncle" depending on the dialect)
    • acapo (アチャポ) - uncle (also acipo アチポ in some dialects)
  • ak (アㇰ)- younger brother (explicitly possessed form aki or akihi)
    • ku-aki (クアキ) - my younger brother
  • amam (アムアム、アマム) - rice; cereals (also amama アママ in some dialects)
  • an-noski (アンノㇱキ) - midnight (also annoske in some Ainu dialects)
  • anun (アヌン) - stranger, outsider; another person, someone else('s), not oneself, not one's own
  • apa (アパ) - doorway
  • ape (アペ) - fire
    • Ape-Huci-Kamuy (アペフチカムイ) - name of the Ainu fire god (literally, "Fire-Grandmother-Deity")
  • apto (アプト) - rain; [dial.] storm, thunderstorm (pronounced as ahto in some dialects)
  • apu (アプ) - ice drift, sea ice (also ap in some dialects)
  • arka (アラカ) - painful, sore, hurting (in some dialects pronounced as araka or arga)
  • as (アシ) - [sing.] to stand; to fall (as rain, snow, etc.), to blow (as wind), to be produced, to be made, to be heard (as a sound, a voice, etc.)
  • asam (アサム) - bottom; depths; foundation (also asama アサマ in some dialects)
  • at (アッ) - string, cord; elm fibre
  • atte (アッテ) - [v.t.] to hang (it), to hang up, to suspend
  • attus (アットゥㇱ) - traditional Ainu coat made from fibers harvested from the bark of the Manchurian elm or the Japanese linden[1]
  • atusa (アトゥサ) - naked, bare
  • atuy (アトゥイ) - sea, ocean (also atuyka アトゥイカ in some dialects)
  • aw (アウ) - tongue (explicitly possessed form awe or awehe)
  • ay (アイ) - thorn; arrow (explicitly possessed form aye or ayehe)
  • aynu (アイヌ) - person; human, mankind; the traditional name for the Ainu people
    • Aynu-Mosir (アイヌモシㇼ) - the land of humans; the earth


  • cape (チャペ) - cat (cf. Aomori, Akita, and Yamagata Japanese dialects chape ちゃぺ or chappe ちゃっぺ "cat")
  • caranke (チャランケ) - appeal (n)
  • casi (チャシ) - fence; enclosure; fortress, castle
  • cep (チェプ) - fish, salmon (also ciep チエプ in some dialects)
  • ci (チ) - penis, a male's private parts (explicitly possessed form ciye or ciyehe)
  • cikap (チカプ) - bird, [esp.] owl (cf. Chikap Kamuy)
  • cip (チプ) - canoe, boat, ship
  • cir (チリ) - bird
  • cironnup (チロヌッㇷ゚) - fox
  • cis (チシ) - to cry, to weep, to howl
  • cise (チセ) - house/home
  • ciw (チウ) - tide; current (of a stream, a river, or the sea); wave(s)
  • ciw (チウ) - to stab, to pierce
  • cuk (チュㇰ) - autumn
  • cup (チュプ) - luminary, sun, moon; month


  • emusi (エムシ) - sword
  • erum (エルム) - mouse, rat (sometimes also erem エレム)
  • esaman (エサマン) - otter
  • etu (エトゥ) - nose; beak; a projecting tip of anything, the end (of a projecting part)


  • ham (ハム) - leaf
  • hanke (ハンケ) - near
  • hanku (ハンク) - navel (dialectal variants include hankapu ハンカプ, hankapuy ハンカプイ, hanka ハンカ, hanko ハンコ)
  • hapo (ハポ) - mother
  • harki (ハリキ) - left (左) (dialectal variants include harke ハリケ)
    • harki-sam (ハリキサム) - left side
  • haw (ハウ) - voice (explicitly possessed form hawe ハウェ or hawehe ハウェへ)
  • hemanta (へマンタ) - what? (dialectal variants include hemata へマタ)
  • hempakpe (ヘンパクペ) - how many (things)?
  • hese (ヘセ) - to breathe; to sigh
  • hok (ホク) - to buy (dialectal variants include hoh ホフ)
  • hoku (ホク) - husband (explicitly possessed form hokuhu; dialectal variants include oku(hu))
  • hom (ホム) - a knot (in wood); a joint (of bamboo)
    • nihom (ニホム) - a knot in wood, a knot in a tree (explicitly possessed form nihomi ニホミ; in some dialects, the two morphemes that compose this compound are maintained as separate words, i.e. ni hom instead of nihom)
    • tophom (トプホム) - a joint of bamboo (in some dialects, this form is maintained as two separate words, i.e. top hom instead of tophom)
  • hon (ホン) - belly, abdomen, stomach (explicitly possessed form honi ホニ or honihi ホニヒ)
  • huci (フチ) - grandmother; old woman
  • humpe (フンペ) - whale
  • hure (フレ) - (to be) red


  • A collection of inawinaw (イナウ) - sacred shaved stick, symbolizing a bird, used for prayer [2]
  • iomante (イオマンテ) - the Ainu bear festival [3] (sometimes pronounced as イヨマンテ iyomante, イヨマンデ iyomande, etc.; from i- ("it, something, someone," a prefix for vaguely indicating the object of a verb) + oman (to go) + -te (causative suffix))
  • ipe (イペ) - [v.i.] to eat, to have a meal; [n.] fish (especially the likes of salmon, trout, or sturgeon)
    • somo ku-ipe na (ソモ クイペ ナ) - I won't eat.
  • ipetam (イペタㇺ) - legendary Ainu sword [4] (literally, the "eating blade" or the "blade that eats (people)")
  • ironne (イロンネ) - thick (as a flattish object)
  • isam (イサㇺ) - not to exist, not to be, not to have; to be gone, not to be there anymore; to die (semantically equivalent to Japanese 無い, なくなる, or (~て)しまう)
  • isepo (イセポ) - rabbit, hare (イソポ isopo in some dialects)
  • itak (イタㇰ) - language
  • iwaw (イワゥ) - sulfur (cf. Japanese (硫黄) "sulfur")


  • kam (カム) - meat, flesh (explicitly possessed form kami or kamihi)
  • kamuy (カムイ) - god, spirit; bear
  • Kamuy-Kara-Puto-Ya-Mosir (カムイカラプトヤモシㇼ) - supposedly means "mouth of water"; refers to Karafuto, or the mouth of the Amur River
  • Kamuy-Mosir (カムイモシㇼ) - "Land of the Gods"; heaven
  • kamuy-nomi (カムイノミ) - to pray to the gods
  • kanna (カンナ) - upper, above
  • kanto (カント) - sky, heaven
  • kap (カプ) - skin, fur, rind, peel, bark, outer covering of anything (explicitly possessed form kapu or kapuhu)
    • kapkar (カプカラ) - to skin, to peel, to remove the rind, to strip the bark
  • kapap (カパプ) - bat (the flying mammal)
  • kapar (カパラ) - thin (as a flattish object)
  • kapiw (カピウ) - seagull
  • kar (カラ) - to make, to prepare, to produce, to do
  • karku (カㇻク) - nephew
  • karus (カルシ) - mushroom
  • kawkaw (カウカウ) - hail, sleet
  • kem (ケム) - blood
    • kemnu (ケㇺヌ) - to bleed
    • kemorit (ケモリッ) - a blood vessel; a vein or an artery (also kemrit ケムリッ)
    • kemus (ケムシ) - bloody, covered in blood, having blood all over
  • kem (ケㇺ) - shortage of food, famine, hunger, starvation
    • kemekot (ケメコッ) - to starve to death, to die of hunger
    • kemnoye (ケㇺノイェ) - to starve to death, to die of hunger
    • kemus (ケムシ) - famished, starving; there is/was a famine
  • kem (ケㇺ) - a needle
    • kemeyki (ケメイキ) - to do needlework, to sew
  • ker (ケレ) - footwear, shoe, boot (explicitly possessed form ケリ keri)
  • kera (ケラ) - taste, flavor
  • kes (ケシ) - end (explicitly possessed form ケセ kese or ケセへ kesehe)
  • kes- (ケシ) - every (day, year, etc.)
  • ki (キ) - to do
  • ki (キ) - louse
  • kikir (キキリ) - bug, insect, worm
  • kim (キム) - mountain
  • kina (キナ) - grass, herb, (edible or otherwise useful) plant; a kind of mat woven from dried bulrush leaves with decorative patterns executed in cotton cloth
  • kira (キラ) - to run away, to flee
  • kiraw (キラウ) - horn, antler (explicitly possessed form kirawe キラウェ or kirawehe キラウェへ)
  • kiray (キライ) - comb
  • kiror (キロロ) - strength, power, ability
  • kisar (キサラ) - ear
  • kitay (キタイ) - top of anything; summit, peak (of a mountain); roof (of a house)
  • konci (コンチ) - hat
  • konru (コンル) - ice; [dial.] hail; [dial.] sleet
  • kor (コロ) - to hold; to have
  • kore (コレ) - to give (probably from the causative form of Ainu kor "to hold; to have," i.e. *kor-de > kor-e "to cause to hold; to cause to have" > kore "to give")
  • Korpokkur (コロポックル) - name of a traditional Ainu folktale [5]
  • kotan (コタン) - village, settlement; dwelling place
    • Kamuy-Kotan (カムイコタン) - Kamuikotan, a scenic area located in the valley of the Ishikari River (literally, "dwelling place of (a/the) god")
  • ku (ク) - bow
  • ku (ク) - to drink; to smoke (tobacco, etc.)
  • kumi (クミ) - mold
    • kumius (クミウシ) - moldy, rotten and covered in mold
  • kunki (クンキ) - nail (cf. Japanese 釘 kugi)
  • kunne (クンネ) - black; dark
    • kunnecup (クンネチュプ) - the Moon (literally, "Black Luminary")
    • Kunashir (クナシリ) - Black (Is)land. Present day Kunashir Island.
  • kur (クル) - shadow
  • kur (クル) - person; man, husband (cf. Korpokkur)
  • kut (クッ) - belt, girdle, waistband (explicitly possessed form クチ kuci or クチヒ kucihi)
  • Kutune-Shirka (クト゜ネシリカ) - name of a sacred Ainu epic [6]


  • makiri (マキリ) - knife
  • mame (マメ) - bean or pea, pulses, legumes
  • mata (マタ) - winter (also known as the "men's season" for the fact that it is a good time of year for men to hunt for furs)
    • mata-noski (マタノシキ) - midwinter
  • mat (マッ) - wife; woman; [as prefix] female (explicitly possessed form マチ maci or マチヒ macihi)
    • matne (マッネ) - female
  • matak (マタㇰ) - younger sister (from an elder sister's point of view)
    • a-mataki (アマタキ) (Classical), ku-mataki (クマタキ) (Colloquial), ku-kor matak (クコロ マタク) - my younger sister (said by an elder sister)
  • matkaci (マッカチ) - girl
  • matkarku (マッカㇻク) - niece
  • mean (メアン) - (to be) cold (as the weather)
    • meekot (メエコッ) - to freeze to death; to starve due to frigid weather
  • mem (メム) - spring, pool, a place where clear water wells up
  • menoko (メノコ) - woman
  • mici (ミチ) - father (in some Ainu dialects, mici is formal and means something like "dead father" or "ancestor"; such dialects typically use aca in the regular meaning of "father")
  • mina (ミナ) - to laugh
  • mokor (モコロ) - to sleep
  • mori (モリ) - small hill, hillock, slope (cf. Japanese mori "forest; [dial.] Shinto shrine, sacred grove, holy place; [dial.] hill")
  • mosir (モシㇼ) - land; territory; island
  • moyuk (モユク) - tanuki
  • mukkuri (ムックリ) - traditional Ainu Jew's harp
  • mun (ムン) - grass, weed, (useless) plant
  • munin (ムニン) - rotten
  • muy (ムイ) - winnow (cf. Japanese mi "winnow")


  • nan (ナン) - face (explicitly possessed form nanu ナヌ or nanuhu ナヌフ)
    • nanuwen (ナヌウェン) - ugly (literally, "its face is bad")
      • nanuwen-cep (ナヌウェンチェプ) - sea raven, shaggy sculpin, Hemitripterus villosus
  • nanna (ナンナ) - mother (nanna was used in Sakhalin dialects; the variant nonno ノンノ was used by the Kuril Islands Ainu)
  • nay (ナイ) - dale, valley (esp. one which has a stream or a marsh); stream, river
  • ni (ニ) - tree; wood
    • nitay (ニタイ) - woods, forest
  • nis (ニシ) - sky, heaven, air; cloud
    • niskur (ニシクル) - cloud
  • nispa (ニㇱパ) - a wealthy person, a rich man, the rich; a gentleman, a lord, a master; an honorific title for a man, Mr.
  • nonno (ノンノ) - flower
  • noski (ノシキ) - middle, center (variants include noske ノシケ)
  • not (ノッ) - chin; cape, promontory
  • noto (ノト) - calm (of the sea, etc.), lull (dialectal variants include neto ネト)
  • nupe (ヌペ) - tears
  • nupek (ヌペク) - light (dialectal variants include nipek and nikep; explicitly possessed form nupeki, nipeki, nikepihi, etc.)
  • nupuri (ヌプリ) - mountain
  • nusa (ヌサ) - a word that collectively describes an altar and the many inaw (a shaved stick used in an offertory ceremony) that decorate it


  • ohaw (オハゥ) - ohaw, Ainu-style stew
  • oman (オマン) - [sing.] to go
  • omap (オマプ) - to love (one's child, etc.), to cherish, to hold dear (c.f. Japanese omou, which means "to think (that), to consider, to feel; to recall, to recollect, to remember; to imagine, to think of, to think about; to worry (about), to care (about), to love")
  • onkami (オンカミ) - worship/prayer/beseechment (cf. Japanese ogami, which has the same meanings)
  • ota (オタ) - sand; sandy plain, sandy place, beach


  • para (パラ) - wide (cf. Sapporo, Paramushir, Toyohara (Toyopara), etc.)
  • pasuy (パスイ) - chopsticks (cf. Japanese *pasi > hashi "chopsticks")
  • paykar (パィカㇻ) - spring (season)
  • pe (ペ) - water (especially that which is non-potable, not intended for drinking, or laden with much dissolved or suspended matter), moisture, sap, juice (explicitly possessed form pehe ペヘ)
  • peko (ペコ) - cow, cattle (cf. べこ beko "cow, cattle" in various Japanese dialects)
  • pene (ペネ) - thoroughly rotten, soft with decay, rotten and sticky or slimy
  • pet (ペッ) - river
  • pi (ピ) - seed, kernel, pip; pebble (as on a riverbed), small stone (explicitly possessed form piye ピイェ or piyehe ピイェヘ)
  • pinne (ピンネ) - male
  • pirka (ピリカ) - good, nice, fine, beautiful
    • pirka kur (ピリカクル) - a fine man (in the sense of "a good person, a virtuous person")
    • pirka okkay (ピリカオッカィ) - a fine man (in the sense of "a handsome man, a good-looking man")
    • pirka menoko (ピリカメノコ) - a beautiful woman, a fine young lady
    • pirka pa (ピリカパ)- a good year
  • pok (ポク) -
    • pokna (ポクナ) - lower, under, below, beneath
  • pok (ポク) - vulva, a female's private parts (explicitly possessed form poki or pokihi)
  • pon (ポン) - small, little
  • pone (ポネ) - bone (cf. Japanese *pone > hone "bone")
  • poro (ポロ) - big, large
  • poru (ポル) - cave, hole (in rock, etc.)
  • poyna (ポイナ) - rock, stone (esp. one that is large)
  • pu (プ)- an elevated structure in which to store food and other valuables (the traditional Ainu equivalent of a shed or a warehouse)
  • pukusa (プクサ) - a kind of wild plant that is prized by the Ainu for its pungent, garlic-like flavor (known in Japanese as Ainu negi "Ainu onion" or gyōja ninniku "wandering ascetic garlic")


  • ram (ラム) - mind, heart (in the figurative sense), soul; understanding, intellect
  • ramat (ラマッ) - soul, spirit; meaning (of a word, etc.) (explicitly possessed form ramaci ラマチ)
  • ray (ライ) - to die
    • cupray (チュプライ) - eclipse
    • rayke (ライケ) - [sing. obj.] to kill (one thing), to cause (a singular object) to die
  • re (レ) - name (explicitly possessed form レヘ rehe
  • rera (レラ) - wind
  • retar (レタラ) - white
  • ri (リ) - high, tall, lofty
  • repun (レプン) - in the offing, offshore, out in the sea (cf. Rebun Island)
  • ruyanpe (ルヤンペ) - rain; [dial.] storm


  • sak (サク) - summer (also known as the "women's season" for the fact that it is a good time of year for women to cultivate plants or to gather wild botanical resources)
  • sampe (サンペ) - heart, cardiac organ
  • san (サン) - to go down, to descend; to flow along (as a river)
    • sanke (サンケ) - to send down, to cause to go down
  • sapanpe (サパンペ) - men's ceremonial Ainu crown [7]
  • sar (サラ) - tail (explicitly possessed form sara サラ or saraha サラハ)
  • sayo (サヨ) - sayo, Ainu-style porridge
  • seta (セタ) - dog (recent dialectal variants include sita シタ; early records of the Ainu language also contain other variant forms of this word for "dog," such as sta, heta, and hida)
  • sik (シク) - eye (explicitly possessed form siki or sikihi)
  • sikotan (シコタン) - Pleasant Village (present day Shikotan island)
  • sinep (シネプ) - one (thing)
  • sinrit (シンリッ) - root (of a tree, etc.); (ancestral) roots, bloodline, pedigree
  • sippo (シッポ) - salt
  • sir (シリ) - weather; appearance; status, condition
  • sir (シリ) - land; island
  • sir (シリ) - mountain
  • sisam (シサㇺ) - Japanese (or assimilated Ainus); (more generally) any foreigner, non-Ainus (cf. Nivkh /sezam/, /sizm/ "Japanese"; probably originally from Ainu si- "self (reflexive prefix)" + sam "near by, close to; side" or Ainu si- "self (reflexive prefix)" + isam "not to exist, not to be, not to have")
    • hure-sisam (フレシサㇺ) - Russian; (more generally) European (from Ainu hure "red" + sisam "Japanese; foreigner")
  • sitoki (シトキ) - glass-bead necklace with a medallion
  • siw (シウ) - bitter
  • siwnin (シウニン) - blue, green, yellow
  • so (ソ) - waterfall, cascade
  • soy (ソイ) - outside (also used as a postposition, e.g. cise-soy "outside of a house," "outside the house")
    • soyta
    • soyke
  • suma (スマ) - stone
  • sumari (シュマリ) - fox
  • susam (スサム) - shishamo
  • susu (スス) - willow


  • takahka (タカッカ) - crab (Sakhalin Ainu)
  • tamasay (タマサイ) - beaded necklace worn by women
  • tanne (タンネ) - long
  • tap (タプ) - shoulder, arm
  • tek (テク) - hand, arm (explicitly possessed form teke or tekihi)
  • teyne (テイネ) - (to get) wet, damp
  • tomari (トマリ)- Shelter (Tomari city in Aomori)
  • tonkori (トンコリ) - traditional Sakhalin Ainu stringed instrument (cf. Nivkh tynryn, a traditional stringed instrument of the Nivkhs)
  • to (ト) - day
    • tanto (タント) - today
  • to (ト) - lake, pond, puddle
  • tom (トム) - to shine, to sparkle, to twinkle
    • tomte (トムテ) - to cause to shine
    • tom tom (トムトム) - sparkling, twinkling, glowing, flashing
    • tonnatara (トンナタラ) - brilliant, resplendent, shining
  • tompi (トムピ) - light, brilliance, sparkle, glow
  • top (トプ) - bamboo
  • topa (トパ) - flock, herd (usually appears in the explicitly possessed form topaha トパハ "a flock of ~," "a herd of ~")
  • toy (トィ) - earth, soil, dirt, mud (also occasionally reduplicated for expressive effect to produce toytoy)
  • tunakay (トゥナカイ) - reindeer (borrowed into Japanese as トナカイ tonakai; also cf. Nivkh tlaЕ‹i 'reindeer')
  • tukar (トゥカラ) - seal (i.e. a sort of marine Pinniped; also tukkar, tukoro, or tokkari in some dialects)
  • tuki (トゥキ) - (drinking) glass, [esp.] a saké cup (cf. Japanese 杯 sakazuki "a vessel from which one drinks an alcoholic beverage," from Old Japanese sake "alcoholic beverage" + tuki "drinking vessel")
  • tuntu (トゥントゥ) - pillar, column; post, stake
  • tur (トゥル) - dirt, grime, filth
    • turtur (トゥルトゥル) - dirt, grime, filth
    • tursak (トゥルサク) - pure, clean, unsullied
  • tus (トゥシ) - (a man's) concubine, (a woman's) fellow wife
  • tusa (トゥサ) - to be cured, to heal up, to recover (from an illness)
    • tusare (トゥサレ) - to cure, to heal
  • tusir (トゥシリ) - grave, tomb; graveyard, cemetery


  • umma (ウンマ) - horse (cf. Japanese うま uma "horse")
  • upas (ウパㇱ) - snow
  • utari (ウタリ) - friend/companion/compatriot; used by the Ainu to describe themselves; the politically correct term for the Ainu people.


  • wakka (ワッカ) - water (especially that which is potable or clean) (cf. Wakkaus Kamuy, the goddess of fresh water)
  • wen (ウェン) - bad; cruel; poor
    • wenkur (ウェンクㇽ) - a pauper, a poor person
    • wenpe (ウェンペ) - a bad one; a bad thing; a bad person, an evil person, a villain
    • wenpekur (ウェンペクㇽ) - a bad person, an evil person, a villain


  • ya (ヤ) - net
  • ya (ヤ) - land (as opposed to sea, river, etc.), shore, (river)bank
  • yuk (ユク) - deer
  • yam (ヤム) - cold (to the touch)
  • yam (ヤム) - chestnut
  • yup (ユプ) - older brother (explicitly possessed form yupi or yupihi)
    • yupo (ユポ) - older brother (dialectal variants include yuppo and yuhpo; probably from an earlier */yup-po/ < /yup/ "older brother" + /po/ "small; diminutive suffix")
  • yukar (ユーカㇻ) - traditional Ainu sagas


Most of the content of this page was taken from the equivalent Japanese-language article, accessed March 27, 2006.

See also

Ainu-English Dictionary

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Published - February 2009

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