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This particular 四字熟語 is exactly the same as the proverb in English, "kill two birds with one stone." I find it to be a strange coincidence that both would have this phrase independently of each other, unless killing birds by throwing stones was just a really big thing back then. Did the Japanese copy the English? Did the English copy the Japanese? Did they both copy some Chinese proverb or something, or did it come from somewhere else entirely? Etymologically speaking where did 一石二鳥 come from?

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Did you see the note in Daijisen? Quote: 西洋のことわざTo kill two birds with one stone.(一つの石で2羽の鳥を殺す、の意)から。 Link: dic.yahoo.co.jp/… –  Dono Mar 12 '13 at 5:00
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To be honest I posted the question before even looking. Thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and share my question with others while improving the number of questions per day. –  ssb Mar 12 '13 at 5:03

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

And I'll go ahead and give an answer to this as well:

http://kotowaza-allguide.com/i/issekinityou.html

According to this, it was translated directly from English into a 四字熟語. This is interesting to me considering that 一挙両得 already exists and means basically the same thing.

http://detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1332146923

According to this site, it was introduced as a phrase in Meiji Japan and then later made into 4 characters. I don't know the origin of the phrase in English, but that's out of the purview of this site!

Just makes me wonder what other proverbs were taken from English and made into 四字熟語.

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Another example, although not a 四字熟語 - 豚に真珠 (pearls before swine) from the English, compared to 猫に小判 –  nkjt Mar 12 '13 at 16:18

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