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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

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
140 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
572 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
165 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
195 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
239 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
335 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
583 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
725 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
219 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
108 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
297 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
248 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
132 views

attending court clerk in Japanese [closed]

What does 'attending court clerk' mean in Japanese? I can't find it.
6
votes
2answers
333 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
401 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
202 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
208 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
298 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
395 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。
17
votes
2answers
2k 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
374 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
392 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
534 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
592 views

うるさい written as 五月蝿い

This is a follow-up question to Does うるさい have a "negative" connotation. I've seen うるさい written as 五月蝿い. 現代では、is this form used often / at all? What does this have to do with flies (蝿【はえ】) in May? ...
4
votes
2answers
308 views

は can mean “at least?”

Can は mean "at least" in some situations? For example, 10回は="at least 10 times?" How does this work? This is an example: ...
7
votes
2answers
726 views

What is だって when it's at the beginning of a sentence?

I have read several definitions of だって but none of them seem to make sense when I see it at the beginning of a sentence and I read the context. I saw one example Japanese sentence and in the English ...
4
votes
2answers
997 views

How and when to use 「そうですね」?

I only know the 2 meanings of it as follow: Use when thinking - no meaning Use to agree with others - the meaning is like "yes, I think so" What else and what situation can it be used? If someone ...
9
votes
1answer
545 views

Comparing 気にする vs. 気になる

Consider this example sentence from SPACEALC: あなたがどうしているか気になっていた。  "I was concerned about how you were." What is the difference when 気にする is used instead? I.e., あなたがどうしているか気にしていた。 ~なる ...
2
votes
1answer
166 views

what does 卵からかえったばかりの魚 mean?

This sentence was from a JLPT N2 prep book. 卵からかえったばかりの魚は体が透き通っている。 I don't understand the part that modifies 魚. Here is how I parsed it: 卵から かえった ばかり の 魚 From egg/returned/just/noun modifier/fish ...
5
votes
2answers
209 views
6
votes
2answers
210 views

Reading 男 or 女 as ひと

Why is it that in Japanese sentence one sees 男 or 女 with furigana that says ひと? Furigana is supposed to help clarify the meaning of a kanji character, but using ひと doesn't seem to help clarify ...
10
votes
4answers
247 views

Meaning of: イベントの前ふりをば。

A colleague is organizing an event and sent everyone an email beginning like this: 田中イベント担当の田中です。 イベントの前ふりをば。 ... (explanation about the event) The first line is a funny intro (the guy ...
2
votes
1answer
205 views

What is ~なかって and how is it formed? [closed]

Taken from alc.co.jp: 家{いえ}の鍵{かぎ}が見{み}つからなくて、玄関{げんかん}のベルを鳴{な}らしたけど、君{きみ}、家{いえ}に居{い}なかってし、ここでずっと待{ま}ってたんだよ。 (I rang the doorbell because I couldn't find the house key, but you weren't home, so ...
6
votes
1answer
353 views

What does お土産持しててね mean? [closed]

I got a message from a friend, about to go on a trip, and it ended with: お土産持しててね I think it's basically "[I'll] bring a souvenir/gift/omiyage [for you]" but I'm not familiar with the 持してて part, I've ...
3
votes
1answer
137 views

Tense of どういうつもりだ…

The full sentence is: 反撃の機会は幾度もあった… どういうつもりだ… "There were many chances to counter attack... what is your intention". But the event took place in the past so why is it not どういうつもりだった… "What was ...
2
votes
1answer
145 views

Translation of 竜すらも恐るるに足らない

The full text is... この魔剣があれば… メルヴィンの言うとおり 竜すらも恐るるに足らない… Is this a double negative? "Even dragons to be not afraid is not enough" = "Even dragons are [will be] afraid".
4
votes
1answer
125 views

Meaning of この延長線上にこそ、

Does X。この延長線上にこそ、Y。 have the same meaning as XなのでY ? Context: 今回、時間の制約が大変厳しい状況にありますが、[...]自動的なチェックのしくみを実現したいと考えます。この延長線上にこそ、新しい世代のより低コストな技術を安定的に評価できる体制が実現可能となります。
2
votes
1answer
138 views

How do I interpret 理不尽 in this situation?

I was talking with my colleagues about work and my friend described the following situation: The boss asked my friend to make a report for a meeting that they had at the end of the day. He worked ...
4
votes
3answers
461 views

what does 貸してもらえないかな mean?

This was from a test prep book: A: この間の本貸してもらえないかな。 B: ええ,明日持ってきてます I'm thinking that the V てもらえない form is often used for requests. My literal parsing of 貸して + もらえない is: 'Can I not ...
5
votes
3answers
392 views

Is it normal to use ただいま in situations other than ただいま戻【もど】りました?

By itself, I would say that 「ただいま」 means something like "just now". I've used it a few times in sentences like this, but it feels somewhat awkward, as I am always reminded of ただいま戻【もど】りました. So, for ...
5
votes
2answers
400 views

How is “誰も” used in this sentence?

I am a bit confused about a sentence I came across in an anki deck: 誰もその話を知らない。 I know that that 誰 means "who" and も means "also", but the translation it gives me is: "No one knows that story." ...
5
votes
1answer
203 views

What does なんたらという mean?

What does なんたらという mean? I searched なんたら's meaning and it showed. The following oojah oojahkapiv oojamaflip oojar oojiboo I used eow.alc.co.jp to search. ...
7
votes
3answers
884 views

一応: Usage and meaning

I've never really fully grasped the meaning of [一]{いち}[応]{おう} since it seems to have no good English equivalent. What is the meaning, usage, and nuances of 一応?
5
votes
2answers
583 views

壱, 弐, 参 vs 一, 二, 三

Can you tell me the difference between 壱 and 一, 弐 and 二, 参 and 三? Do these pairs have the same meaning? If yes, why do we use different Kanji? If no, what is the difference in their meanings? Can ...
3
votes
1answer
224 views

Dictionary entry and derived forms, were they equal at some point?

I will first state the dictionary entry, and then other formations that also yield the dictionary entry. Consider the following : 思える - to seem/appear, potential form of 思う - can think 合わせる - ...
2
votes
1answer
186 views

Lyric in this song: 気の思い?

There is an Indonesian song with titled "Aishiteru" which is fully in Indonesian language except for one line in Japanese (and a few "a a a aishiteru" lines). YouTube link The one line in Japanese ...