ことわざ. Phrases with fixed words used as a single unit, typically with a meaning beyond what is obvious from its constituent parts.

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4
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2answers
510 views

“over in the blink of an eye”?

What is the idiom "in the blink of an eye" in Japanese? I want to use it to say that two years will be over in the blink of an eye or "before you even notice". (For a detailed discussion and ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

Is 長生きはするもんな a set phrase?

Is 長生きはするもんだな a set phrase meaning "you live and learn"?
2
votes
1answer
77 views

A japanese saying “一をいうと十返ってくる”

I'm currently trying to read a japanese novel and I found this expression : 一をいうと十返ってくる It was meant to qualify a character, but I just don't get it. At first I thought it could mean "tell one ...
4
votes
2answers
390 views

“Something came up” in Japanese

I always use this in English to excuse myself from a planned meeting/meet up (professional or personal). Basically, I don't want to bother the interlocutor with the details and notify them I am busy. ...
3
votes
2answers
145 views

Does 児戯 have the same idiomatic value in Japanese as “child's play” does in English?

In English, "child's play" can literally mean "play performed by a child" or it can be used as an idiom to refer to "something easy". I see that Japanese 児戯 can also mean 子供の遊び (児の戯れ, I guess?) - ...
3
votes
1answer
103 views

Meaning and usage of ~としたことが

I came across the expression ~としたことが, for example: 私としたことが I'm trying to figure out the meaning and usage of this phrase, but I can't find any English resources that explain it. What does this ...
4
votes
1answer
128 views

How would you use どうもこうもない?

Found two example translations, one is "there is no alternative", the other is "sorry, it was awful". What is the scope of situations where it can be used? Is there a way to translate its nuance into ...
1
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2answers
58 views

貰{もら}える物は貰っておく (idiom?) meaning

How should the 貰っておく part be interpreted? What (I) can receive, I ... (?).
1
vote
1answer
134 views

Meaning of “頭に付く”?

I'm reading through a book about learning Mandarin written in Japanese. There's a section describing the basics of initials (声母【せいぼ】) and finals (韻母【いんぼ】) in Chinese syllables with the following ...
3
votes
1answer
161 views

Meaning of “gkbrです”

I have noticed the usage of gkbrです in sentences not related to the G insect: 田中さんに掘り返されたことでgkbrです。 恐怖でgkbrですが続きテツヤ待機。 Does it mean "I am afraid and want to crawl under the furniture"?
2
votes
1answer
132 views

Twitter idioms: Why do some Japanese have an “@” in the middle of their “names” (not usernames)?

I've noticed that some Japanese Twitter users put words/short sentences separated by an "@" symbol in the "name" field. A common one I've noticed is "abc123@LINEスタンプ販売中," which seems to imply they're ...
3
votes
1answer
100 views

Meaning of 家族ポイントを消費

What is the meaning of 家族ポイント and 家族ポイントを消費? Examples: 家族ポイントを消費して行くオプションもありましたが、年の初めから無理をすることもなかろうと看病モード。 かなりの家族ポイントを消費しつつ、札幌歴史ゲーム友の会の例会に久々に参加しました。 ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

おきばりになさって! with the meaning of 頑張れ!

I was discussing with my Japanese colleagues about expressions peculiar to contemporary bourgeoisie. One expression I already knew was ご機嫌よう!, meaning またね!. My question is about another one: ...
4
votes
1answer
83 views

Meaning of タッグでやる

According to Wikipedia, a tag team is a two-person team of which only one person plays at a time. Speaking of a long-length work project, 小林 says: 田中とタッグでやる。 Is there any nuance difference with ...
1
vote
2answers
251 views

“Year of the X” - is there an idiom?

So, if we were talking about "this is the Year of the Dog", I think the correct rendering of that in Japanese would be 戌年, with the reading いぬどし. But does that extend outside of the astrological ...
4
votes
1answer
178 views

ムダ足だった == useless leg?

When I look up the phrase 無駄足だった, I see it translated as "It was a Wild goose chase." I found this bizarre, since it seems like it would mean "It was a useless foot/leg." is this some sort of figure ...
7
votes
1answer
143 views

Meaning of ~と言われればそれまでだが、…

I have found this sentence: 好みの問題と言われればそれまでだが、私はこの店の内装はなんとなく好きになれない。 To my poor understanding it sounds similar to: 好みの問題と言われても、私はこの店の内装はなんとなく好きになれない。 If it is completely different and I ...
2
votes
1answer
229 views

Meaning of 根づいていた / 根づく

In the opening to the popular anime Fairy tale, they say this: 魔法は 普通に売り買いされ 人々の生活に根づいていた。 This is translated in the subtitles as: Magic is traded like common goods. It has become a part of ...
2
votes
2answers
212 views

Can [面倒]{めんどう} be used as “boring”?

I've just heard many times [面倒]{めんどう} in anime, in translation is not troublesome but boring. Is it usual? Which is more appropriate? Example: 面倒な仕事です。
3
votes
2answers
329 views

How do you say “after all”, in the sense of reaffirming or justifying a previous statement?

For example: "You should wear a jacket. After all, it's snowing out there." "Of course I bought you a present! It's our anniversary after all." I tried an online dictionary but they gave me a lot ...
2
votes
1answer
219 views

What does 馬鹿も一芸 mean in English? [closed]

I'm wondering how 馬鹿も一芸 should be translated into English. EDICT-based dictionary sites list this phrase with the following translation: 馬鹿も一芸 even a fool has a talent Is this translation ...
4
votes
1answer
304 views

Meaning of あさっての方向 “Asatte no houkou”

I just heard something like: この話があさっての方向に向かっています Kono hanashi ga asatte no houkou ni mukatteimasu It was used when one of conversation partners said something off topic or loosely tied to it. ...
6
votes
3answers
479 views

How to say “all in all”

I have been many times blocked in a conversation because I have no way to translate "all in all" in those general contexts: All in all it takes 15 minutes to get there All in all this movie was ...
4
votes
1answer
199 views

When to use 出て来る over 出る

Here is a sentence from the children's story ももたろう, describing when the child appears from within the giant peach. 桃の中から赤ちゃんが出てきました。 My dictionary lists 出て来る as meaning "to come out" with a note ...
4
votes
1answer
209 views

“Automatic Doors Don't Open For Him”

I remember hearing this idiom which meant someone was so lowly, they were not even considered a person. I don't know the source, but remember it was referred to as a 'common Japanese idiom'. ...
1
vote
1answer
108 views

Opposite of 歯止め?

According to WWWJDIC, 歯止め is used as follows: 歯止めをかける; 歯止めを掛ける (exp,v1) to curb; to halt; to apply brakes; to put an end to The English translations have a pretty good correspondence with the ...
2
votes
1answer
221 views

What is a good idiom for 'not being invested'?

In English there are a few idioms that are variants on the phrase, I don't really have a horse in this race, so... which essentially means "I'm not invested in the outcome of the current ...
0
votes
2answers
263 views

What is the literal meaning of 'マスコミにバラして'?

The sentence is, 'マスコミにバラしてもいいんですよ?' What does this mean, literally? Also, is this figure of speech frequently used? If it is, could you please give me some instances when it is used in daily life? ...
6
votes
2answers
934 views

Is there a Japanese phrase equivalent to the English phrase: “Guilty Pleasure”?

I am at a loss of words to describing to my host family why I sometimes listen to "bad" or embarrassing music. Is there a japanese phrase that can help me tell them it's a "guilty pleasure" of mine?
2
votes
1answer
131 views

Question on the idiom 頭が回転しない

I found the following dialogue on lang-8: A: 駄目だ、飲み過ぎて頭が回転しない。 B: 仕事、明日にしたら? A: Oh no, I drank too much so I can't concentrate on it. B: Why not do your work tomorrow? So does 頭が回転する ...
0
votes
2answers
209 views

心は出血している - what exactly the Japanese idiom for it?

is there the same expression in Japanese for good russian idiom 'Сердце кровью обливается'? 「心は出血している」? 'My heart is bleeding' is not very accurate, not really verbatim. This idiom in Russian ...
3
votes
1answer
239 views

What does “だがたまには下も見るもんだぜ” mean?

There is a suggestively conversation between two men who are fighting each other. A is claimed to be strongest wizard and B is nearly strong as A. Here is the conversation, A:世の中上には上がおる B: ...
5
votes
1answer
113 views

Is ネコでも分かる・サルでも分かる idiomatic?

I heard the expression ネコでも分かる... mentioned in a TV drama as title for a (fictional) book, in the sense of "...for dummies". A quick search on Amazon brings up a few (real) titles ネコでも分かる... or ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

How to playfully scold someone?

I haven't heard from a good friend for a while, I would like to reproach him playfully, but have no clue what the appropriate thing to say would be. Would 恥を知れ! be appropriate if said in a funny ...
3
votes
2answers
213 views

Is there an idiomatic meaning for 口の中?

I read this phrase in a book: ・・・・[彼]は口の中でうなった。 I'm guessing the うなった is 唸った, or groan, but I'm curious as to if 口の中 has a meaning or implication other than the obvious, inside his mouth. How ...
6
votes
1answer
298 views

How to describe the inside of one's mind?

On one page in my book, I came across 3 different phrases for, what seems to me, subtly different ways of saying the same thing. The first was: 頭の隅に Then: 脳裏に The information I was able to find ...
7
votes
1answer
450 views

Translation of 「そんなことない」

What is a correct translation for 「そんなことない」 and when can it be used? I understand the "this is wrong"/"this is not correct" general sense but is this considered either as harsh or a gentle way of ...
5
votes
1answer
182 views

The thin line? What is 線がうすい's meaning and etymology?

I just found this phrase in my book (I don't know how much context is relevant, this is the entire sentence): それにな、わたしが商人の線がうすい、といった理由はもうひとつある。 I looked up the phrase and found this 線が細い. It ...
5
votes
2answers
220 views

根も葉も火種も — is it proverbial?

I suspect「根も葉も火種も」 is an allusion to something I do not recognize. To what does it refer? Consider this couplet from an amusing song released in March by IOSYS called 「ステマの女」(CD and promotional ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

What does ただいま actually mean?

I was wondering what the literal translation really means. I've seen it translated as I'm home but I've also seen it in a few situations where the person wasn't arriving home.
1
vote
1answer
447 views

At what level should we be able to understand Yojijukugo?

In my experience, Chinese language learners are introduced to these 4-character phrases at an early stage (around Chinese 3 in my high school); what I want to know is there a certain aptitude level ...
7
votes
1answer
226 views

Does 換骨奪胎 have negative connotation?

In the book ロボット学論集 by 瀬名 秀明, I saw this sentence (not exact since I'm solely depending on my memory) 2004 年公開の映画 "I, Robot" は,Isaac Asimov の同名の小説を換骨奪胎した別物である. I looked at several online ...
4
votes
1answer
257 views

Questions on the Japanese equivalent of “window of opportunity”

In English we have a saying "window of opportunity" which means that there is specific time period where a certain event can occur. Based on that expression we talk about a "launch window" when it ...
9
votes
2answers
585 views

Japanese idiom equivalent to “take with a grain of salt”

Is there a Japanese idiom equivalent to "take with a grain of salt"? In other words, an idiom which means "don't accept this information as completely true or the complete truth".
7
votes
1answer
214 views

Is there a figurative use to 春風?

I often hear 春風【はるかぜ】(or, much less often, 春風【しゅんぷう】) used to describe the characteristically windy weather of early Spring. I was also certain I had heard it used on occasions as a figurative ...
3
votes
1answer
380 views

Meaning/origin of 三寒四温【さんかんしおん】

Recently I was introduced to the 四字熟語【よじじゅくご】: 三寒四温【さんかんしおん】 ... to describe the type of changing weather one often experiences around late Winter/early Spring. As to the literal meaning of ...
6
votes
1answer
374 views

Understanding “よりを戻す” and “止めておこう”

I don't think us getting together tonight is such a good idea. やっぱり今夜、よりを戻すのは止めておこう。 I would like to understand this sentence better, specifically the (idiomatic?) expression, "よりを戻す." I ...
4
votes
1answer
304 views

What does the idiom 体が余る mean?

I found a list of Japanese idioms (without translations) that I wanted to study, so I sat down and looked up the meanings. Most of them I found in my trusty denshi jishyo, and a couple of them I had ...
3
votes
2answers
144 views

Is 東西二つ idiomatic?

I came across this sentence about a traditional festival in Japan: 阿月の神明祭は、阿月地区を東西二つに分けて行われる災厄除けや病気除け、豊作を祈願して行われる。 (link) The general meaning is clear, but what I don't fully understand is this ...
12
votes
3answers
684 views

What's bugging the Japanese language?

In my JLPT workbook, it has a section which gives a list of idioms that use [虫]{むし}. 仕事{しごと}の虫 (worker bee) 点取{てんとり}虫 (derogatory term for a student who tries too hard) 虫がいい (selfish) ...