Word of the Week: 手首 (tekubi)

Photo credit: @wellerhassan

Posted: 3rd Nov 2023

Hello and welcome to the Ippo Ippo Japanese Word of the Week!

As I'm currently suffering from a slight wrist injury (the inspiration for the topic of this post), I haven't been able to do much blog writing of late. However, I'm back today with a short intro to a Japanese word that's long amused me.

This Week's Word Is...


  • In hiragana: てくび
  • In rōmaji: tekubi

Before We Begin

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What Does 手首 (tekubi) Mean?

手首 (tekubi) means "wrist". However, the fun part of this word is its literal meaning:

  • 手 (te) = hand
  • 首 (kubi) = neck

So: your wrist is your "hand neck" in Japanese!

How Do You Pronounce 手首 (tekubi)?

Visit Forvo to hear examples of how to pronounce this word.

How to Use 手首 (tekubi) in a Sentence

This word is a little more straightforward than some of the others we've seen in this Word of the Week series. Even so, let's take a look at some potentially handy phrases involving wrists.

Example Sentences

  1. 手首をケガしました。(Tekubi wo kega shimashita - [I] injured my wrist)
  2. 手首が痛いです。(Tekubi ga itai desu - [My] wrist hurts)
  3. 手首の骨を折りました。(Tekubi no hone wo orimashita - [I] broke my wrist)
  4. 警官は私の手首を捕まえた。(Keikan wa watashi no tekubi wo tsukamaeta - The police officer grabbed me by the wrist)

Hopefully you won't have to use any of these any time soon!


Bonus Note: Words Similar to 手首 (tekubi)

Considering that "wrist" is "hand neck", what other parts of the body (other than your neck itself) do you think might involve the word 首 (kubi)?

Here are two I know of:

  • 足首 (ashikubi - "foot neck", i.e. ankle)
  • 乳首 (chikubi - "breast neck", i.e. nipple)

For more words ending in 首, go to a dictionary such as jisho.org and try searching "?首".

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