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

I read the word 「引き金」and the definition is:

1 小銃・ピストルなどの、指で引く発射装置の金具。

2 ある事態を引き起こす直接の原因。きっかけ。「授業料の値上げが―となって大学紛争が起こった」 起因(きいん)  ⇒類語辞書で詳しい使い方を調べる 誘因(ゆういん) 動機(どうき) モチーフ

But why is 金 connected to the meaning of "trigger"? How is "pulling money"「引き金」representative of a "gun" or "trigger"?

share|improve this question
up vote 11 down vote accepted

「金」 in 「引{ひ}き金{がね}」 does not represent "money" but "metal". "Metal" is translated as 「金属{きんぞく}」 and "metal fittings" are translated as 「金具{かなぐ}」. 「引き金」 is the part of a gun that is made of metal and is for triggering the gun to fire. In English, "trigger" also means the part of a gun as a noun, and "to cause something" as a verb.




source: デジタル大辞泉 http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/leaf/jn2/43429/m0u/%E9%87%91%E5%85%B7/

金属 http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/srch/je/%E9%87%91%E5%B1%9E/m0u/

Word origin for 金: http://gogen-allguide.com/ka/kane.html

share|improve this answer
Thinking 金 represented money was a silly mistake of mine. Thanks! – Chris Harris Oct 3 '12 at 17:28

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.