The meaning of words or phrases within certain contexts, especially when it does not seem to match the standard definition.

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6
votes
1answer
302 views

ところ vs どころ: Interchangeable or different meanings altogether?

I have two questions. A) Why do they use どころ instead of ところ in this sentence? Is it possible to use ところ without changing the meaning? ...
17
votes
2answers
816 views

What does the nakaguro (・) between these two words mean?

The first sentence on the Mac OS X article on the Japanese version of Wikipedia reads: Mac OS X(マック オーエス テン)は、アップルが[開発]{かいはつ}・[販売]{はんばい}する、Macintoshコンピュータ[用]{よう}の[現行]{げんこう}オペレーティングシステム (OS) である。 ...
2
votes
3answers
368 views

Translation of 出証意 and 長官殿

These are from a patent related document and I can't understand very well. They are used like these: 1) 特許庁長官殿 2) 出証意2012 Can anyone help me?
2
votes
1answer
466 views

Why does 古希 / こき mean 70 years old?

I found out that 古希 / こき can mean a 70 year old person, or the occasion of turning 70 years old. Apparently its etymology derives from an ancient song where this line occurs:七十古希 【しちじゅうこき】 which means ...
6
votes
1answer
181 views

Which つける do I use?

So I looked up つける and saw it can be written as: 付ける 着ける 附ける And they all seem to have the exact same definition: to attach, to join, to add, to append, etc. So are these "spellings" ...
2
votes
2answers
198 views

What is って doing in this sentence?

From Noir, Episode 2 (anime). I don't get what the って is doing in this sentence. For context, the father came home early from work. He quickly answers his wife in the first sentence then in the ...
9
votes
3answers
392 views

What is the difference between ~すぎ and ~すぎる?

When I was playing a video game a few months ago, I noticed that some of the characters (mostly young teen females, in case it matters) kept saying ~すぎ instead of ~すぎる. For example, when one of the ...
8
votes
2answers
403 views

What is the meaning of 〜たりして?

I've just come across "〜していたりして" at the end of a sentence in a post on Facebook, so it's probably very casual. Does anyone know the correct meaning and typical usage?
-2
votes
1answer
339 views

What does さちゅえい mean?

I can't find this in any dictionary, but it seems to mean something like picture. Is that right? I don't have an example sentence, because that word was the whole sentence.
6
votes
3answers
825 views

What does ちがいます。 mean?

I saw this translated in the first episode of FLCL as "It's wrong.", but checking the translation, I get "Different." Can someone clear this up? Thanks.
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What does 氏 mean after a name, how is it different from さん or 様?

If you look in the dictionary for the definition of 氏 you'll find it defined as: family name; lineage; birth. However I have seen it used in such a way that it is doubtful that it means any of those ...
10
votes
1answer
207 views

What is the significance of a large く character in literary texts?

I am currently reading an early story by Tanizaki Junichiro in Japanese. I have come across both the hiragana く and ぐ written twice the size they usually are, taking up the same amount of space on the ...
5
votes
1answer
215 views

Meaning of 掛ける after ご面倒?

ご面倒をお掛けして申し訳ございません。 means "We are sorry for the inconvenience." but what is the meaning of 掛ける in this context?
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Meaning of ~きて~ and ~しまいました in sentence

"あなたの本を車の中に置いてきてしまいました。" means "I left your book in the car." but what is the meaning of "きて" and "しまいました" in context?
10
votes
3answers
1k views

How can you figure out whether 鍵【かぎ】 means “lock” or “key”?

Recently, I forgot whether 鍵【かぎ】 meant lock or key, so I looked it up quickly on my phone's dictionary... And then I found out that it actually means both. What are the best ways to figure out if ...
3
votes
2answers
194 views

Understanding 〜たら良いか〜

The sentence 何と言ったら良いか分かりません means "I don't know what I should say." But what is the literal translation of this sentence? What is the purpose of the か in 良いか?
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How can 「うん」 be used to mean both “yes” and “no?”

I was told by my Japanese teacher that 「うん」 can be used as a casual way to say "yes" as well as "no." If this is true, how can you tell the difference, absent any additional information?
6
votes
4answers
241 views

Problem understanding a sentence

The sentence トムは私より身長が高いです。 means "Tom is taller than I me." but I'm trying to find the meaning of each word in order to understand the japanese sentence better. Here is what I have so far: トムは(Tom ...
4
votes
2answers
259 views

What does あらいだす mean?

What does あらいだす mean? I have been hearing it from my colleague and based on his explanation it means to identify. For example identify the problem. I tried to search the net and it only results to ...
5
votes
1answer
213 views

Help with this sentence fragment containing “思想統制”

I came across this example sentence for the grammar point ~にあって, which indicates that something is under a particular circumstance. 彼女は戦争中、思想統制下にあってなお、自由な精神を持ち続けた。 I understand the first and the ...
5
votes
1answer
177 views

しゅうと/シュート - The great equalizer

I was watching the movie Mr. Baseball the other day. Several times during the movie they talk about しゅうと which they describe as "the great equalizer". (Could possibly be しゅうとう, but their dialog does ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

What's the difference between いいえ and English's “no”?

In "Japanese for Busy People I" page 2 (kana or romaji edition) it says that いいえ is 'virtually the same as "no"'. It sounds like there are some differences, but they want to omit mentioning them for ...
7
votes
2answers
518 views

What does “さ” means in 探偵さ?

I watch an animation called Detective Conan, which is about a detective. I read translations, but try to listen in Japanese. Sometimes, when he is asked "who are you?", the main character answers by ...
3
votes
1answer
177 views

Buddhist facilities

I am working on Japanese texts describing Buddhist temples in South-East Asia and there is quite a number of words I can't really translate in English. Here is a list with my tentative translations (I ...
3
votes
1answer
138 views

Does 諸元{しょげん} mean “Specification” or “Various”?

I am trying to name a library on a group of forms. The specification names the group 諸元管理画面. I tried to search and the dictionary says it means "various factors or elements". But on other examples ...
4
votes
2answers
553 views

What is さすが when referring to oneself?

It means "as one would expect" when referring to others, and it's sort of a compliment. But you're not supposed to compliment yourself in Japanese. So does さすが have a different meaning when ...
5
votes
1answer
164 views

Can a cathedral be referred to as a 寺?

I was listening to a song Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame in Japanese (the intro, The Bells of Notre Dame or ノートルダムの鐘), and I noticed that they referred to the cathedral as a 「てら」. I thought that was ...
2
votes
1answer
192 views

Explain what はめになる is and give some examples

I heard that it means something like "to get stuck with something." Can you explain what this means and give some examples?
4
votes
1answer
233 views

The gender of 子

Is 子 ever used to refer to a boy, or is it always used for girls? Is 悪い子 used only for girls?
5
votes
2answers
332 views

Does がち mean “in excess”?

I have been reading a daily article during 朝礼. One of the sentence used the word がち. The sample sentence is: 長所{ちょうしょ}は見逃{みのが}してしまいがちです。 Abundant of misses. I tried to ask my colleague ...
10
votes
1answer
569 views

Did standalone noun “好き” mean a person in classical Japanese?

In classical Japanese, did standalone noun “好き” mean a person who likes something? I do not think that it does in modern Japanese, although it sometimes means a person when used as a suffix (e.g. ...
8
votes
5answers
705 views

Who scolded whom in Aに怒られる?

I can see that someone got mad or someone made someone else mad. The things that make it difficult are に and the られる form of 怒る. What does this mean? How do you figure out who did what in these types ...
4
votes
1answer
214 views

Is -はない just another way of saying -じゃありません?

In the sentence: 彼の論文には大した価値はない Is the -はない another way of saying -じゃありません or -ではない? And is it read as wanai or hanai?
4
votes
1answer
105 views

Can 国体 refer to “prefectural” as well as “national”?

If 国体 is used in conjunction with a prefecture name like 山口国体, does that mean "The National Athletic Meet that is being held in Yamaguchi", or the "The Yamaguchi Prefectural Athletic Meet"? The only ...
8
votes
1answer
294 views

What does 台 mean when proceeded by a number (of yen)

I came across this phrase in a news article about a budget reduction: ....6千億円台になる.... I was wondering what this use of 台 means. I did a Google search of 円台 and the amount of yen doesn't seem to ...
4
votes
1answer
245 views

Understanding the grammar of 当て

I'm trying to understand the grammar behind 当て, and after a bit of investigation I still don't quite understand a could of points. The definition that I found for it is (n) depend on, expectations, ...
2
votes
1answer
104 views

Lunar Seas and Sun Hills at a sports park?

I was reading the introduction page for Kirara Memorial Park (a public sports park) in Japan, and one of the features they listed was a 「月{つき}の海{うみ}」. As far as I can tell, in both English and ...
-1
votes
1answer
131 views

attending court clerk in Japanese [closed]

What does 'attending court clerk' mean in Japanese? I can't find it.
6
votes
2answers
325 views

What is the meaning of お気の毒に and how is it used?

Although the there are several definitions in the dictionary: my condolences that's too bad my sympathies What does お気の毒に literally mean? I'm guessing that it might have something to do with ...
5
votes
1answer
398 views

Can もの be used to imply the value of something that is a こと?

I thought of this question and quickly realized that I already knew a possible example. Japanese band ZONE's most popular song is called 「secret base~君【きみ】がくれたもの~」. The lyrics can be read here or at ...
1
vote
1answer
198 views

What is やっちゃるけんな?

This looks like やる in a colloquial form. Can someone clear up what this says?
3
votes
1answer
200 views

What does そうべ mean?

It is in the title of a book named そうべえまっくろけのけ. How to split そうべえまっくろけのけ?
5
votes
1answer
114 views

What is koshinashi?

I can't find コシなし defined in any dictionary. It looks like it might have something to do with udon noodles.
9
votes
2answers
206 views

[潔]{いさぎよ}い meaning

Can anyone tell me more about 潔い? I've looked in Goo, Alc, Kenkyusha, and Edict, and the definitions refer to "sportsmanlike", "gracious", or "take it like a man". However, I'm doubtful if these are ...
2
votes
4answers
296 views

Why did this pirate get angry when he was given a bottle?

I was reading this and it didn't make sense to me. This pirate wanted a drink, but the store was sold out. So one of the guys offered to give him an unopened bottle, but it only made the pirate mad. ...
4
votes
1answer
391 views

What does 叱ってやりたい mean in this context?

On twitter I saw this: なのに風呂掃除したら100円もらってたおれ…叱ってやりたい!笑 What does it mean? This is the previous tweet: 最近だなー。食ったらすぐ食器洗うのが習慣になったの。実家に居た頃は全部母親がやってたから甘えちゃってた。仕事もしてて家事も完璧にやってた母親、今更ながら尊敬します。
15
votes
2answers
1k views

What connotation does なんだ add?

Specifically, in the expression 好きなんだ (I love you) why not just say 好きだ or 好きです?
-4
votes
1answer
368 views

What does 染めちゃえ mean here? [closed]

Saw this on twitter: A: マオにゃん、シドギャの彼女が出来ない僕に一言くれたら幸いです ... B: 付き合った後に染めちゃえ What is 染めちゃえ here?
12
votes
4answers
389 views

“Unsolvable problem”

What is the correct construction of "unsolvable problem"? Is it "解{と}けられない問題{もんだい}"?(Question 1) Plain(intransitive): 解{と}ける "To be solved". Potential form(of intransitive): 解けられる "can be ...
9
votes
1answer
528 views

Usage and meaning of [passive verb]-てみれば

I am familiar with the set phrase 「言われてみれば」 as a way to say "Now that you say that", but as I examine the phrase further, the phrase structure strikes me as strange. The 〜てみる conjugation is commonly ...