Hesitation

Inside a Laundry Shop
Inside a Laundry Shop by Xavier L.

It’s probably frequency bias but I’ve been seeing more and more of this word lately:

ちゅう ちょ

躊躇

chūcho

I saw this word for the first time at a laundry shop, on a sign telling customers to get their clothes out as soon as they’re finished because theft of clothes are being reported more than usual all over the country. (I suspect this is just a ploy to scare people who leave their clothes inside the dryer for a long time, inconveniencing other customers.)

The rest of the sign read:

不審者を見かけたら躊躇なく警察に通報してください。

Fushinsha wo mikaketara, chūchonaku keisatsu ni tsūhō shite kudasai.

Even seeing the word for the first time it’s not hard to guess what it means: “If you see a suspicious-looking person, do not _______ to call the police.”

These are no ordinary kanji, made up of 21 and 19 strokes, respectively. They’re not in my Kanji Learner’s Dictionary. This is probably the only combination where you’ll find any of these two.

Well, actually that’s not quite true. If you put う at the end, you get 躊躇う (tamerau) which means “to hesitate.” Very complicated kanji to denote a very ordinary word.

I took a photo of the sign, and took out my kanji practice sheet as soon as I got home and resolved to learn these two. (I don’t think I’ve really learned a kanji unless I know how to write it.)

You learn little bits of Nihongo from the most mundane of places.