Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

それは彼の身に応えだした。 [ex #4531] It is beginning to tell on him.

can anyone explain this sentence? is it useful or archaic?

is it related to this?


share|improve this question
What do you mean by explain? It's a common meaning for "こたえる"- to have an effect on something. It's not archaic. The first example means pretty much the same as the second. "It's taking a toll on his body." – rdb Sep 20 '11 at 1:32
thanks. I was just confused by the original translation I had found. – yadokari Sep 20 '11 at 15:05
This was deleted – Joshua Robison Sep 24 '11 at 9:07
up vote 0 down vote accepted


That wore him out.

身に応える = to get tired.

share|improve this answer
I don't think the meaning is restricted to being tired. Also, the translation "That wore him out." omits the helper verb "だす". – rdb Sep 24 '11 at 8:41
@rdb, nope it's pretty restricted according to my Japanese wife. Also the verb dasu only implies the quickness with which he was worn down. Similarly the preposition "out" in English creates the same kind of nuance. That wore him out or tired him out not only shows a similar nuance to kotaedasu – Joshua Robison Sep 24 '11 at 9:08
If you think about it deeply you might expect it to have other applications except that it is a commonly used Japanese expression which I suppose as a kind of joke you could use it to mean it had an effect on someone but because that is not the normal use of the expression you would just sound like you were trying to make a pun. – Joshua Robison Sep 24 '11 at 9:13
風が身にこたえた。 寒さが身にこたえた。 湿気が身にこたえた。 下記のサイトにもご参考ください:   thesaurus.weblio.jp/content/… – rdb Sep 24 '11 at 9:41
@rdb, sorry if I sounded rude. Maybe you are right and in English we don't really say that the cold weather makes us tired or hot weather makes us tired but I can not think of any case including the ones you suggested above where 身に応えた can not be substituted with しんどい which pretty much means tired. But I suppose you are right in that 身に応えた can pretty much be referenced to a negative feeling which is , you are right, fairly broad. – Joshua Robison Sep 24 '11 at 9:49

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.