He (へ) – 凹む (Hekomu) – Meaning of Hekomu in Japanese

凹む (“hekomu”) – Meaning of Hekomu in Japanese – AIUEO

A Hieroglyph?
The Meaning behind 凹む (Hekomu)
Other Meanings
Words with Similar Meanings

A Hieroglyph?

Have you ever seen this sign? It is in fact a Kanji. It is pronounced “hekomu.” This is a “hieroglyph,” (a character that visually represents their direct meaning) along with (mountain) or (river), but what does it mean? Let’s look at some example sentences with “凹む.”
1. The car hit a wall, and the body got severely 凹んでしまった (“hekondeshimatta”, past tense).
2. The table is 凹んでいる (“hekondeiru,” present continuation tense) a little, because there was a table on it.

3. This ball is soft, so it 凹む (“hekomu,” present tense) if you squeeze it.

The Meaning behind 凹む (Hekomu)

Now you see, don’t you? This means that a strong force is applied from outside and a part of it gets dented. It is also easy to see that from the shape of this Kanji, don’t you think?

By the way, “凹む” is an intransitive verb, so it is used like “a thing 凹む.” Its transitive version is “凹ます” (“hekomasu”). Haven’t you ever “凹ませた” (“hekomaseru,“past tense) your belly when wearing a swimming suit?

Other Meanings

Actually, this Kanji has another meaning.
(At a company)
A: It looks like C is 凹んでいる (“hekondeiru,“present continuation tense) because he was just scolded by the manager.
B: No wonder, anyone would 凹む (“hekomu,” present tense) if scolded like that.

See? Exactly, it means “feeling ‘temporarily’ depressed (when scolded by someone or when something shocking happens).” You can probably understand this by visualizing “your mind getting 凹んでしまった (‘hekondeshimatta’, perfect tense) by strong words or a shock.” This usage of “凹む” is in fact slang, but it is widely used, not just by young people.

Words with Similar Meanings

By the way, “落ち込む” (“ochikomu”) and “凹む” are very similar, but the former means that a person is more depressed and is close to the meaning of “悩む” (“nayamu”).
〇 He has been 落ち込んでいる (“ochikondeiru,” present continuation tense), saying they lost the game because of him.
△ He has been 凹んでいる (“hekondeiru,“present continuation tense), saying they lost the game because of him.
Do you ever notice your mind 凹む (“hekomu,” present tense)? When that happens, you might feel better by going to a boxing gym and 凹ますこと (“hekomasukoto,” transitive gerund present tense) a sandbag.

About the author:

Kumi Tanaka

The author for this article is Kumi Tanaka-sensei. With over 14 years experience as a Japanese teacher – she also advises foreign professionals as a career consultant. She is mainly responsible for the Business Japanese course, JLPT N1 classes, and Intensive courses. Tanaka-sensei is quite popular amongst our intermediate and advanced students! Currently, she is also enjoying studying the Vietnamese language.

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