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

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8
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1answer
553 views

Can I use 行っている間(に) in the sense of a habitual action?

Knowing that 行く is punctual, stative, and a motion verb, I also know that, 日本に行っている means "I/he/she have gone to Japan (and am still there)" rather than "I am currently going to Japan." I also feel ...
8
votes
3answers
502 views

に and で revisited

Consider the statement A: ホテル(に/で)泊まる. For both cases would translate to "I stay at a hotel" in English. However they are answers to different questions. Consider the questions 1.どこに泊まる and ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What does イケメン mean?

I am in a Japanese 101 class. We are supposed to translate the following sentence: 日本ぶんかの先生は、イケメンですが、ぜんぜんやさしくないですから、あまり好きじゃありません。 I am having trouble with that word イケメン. So far, I have: The ...
7
votes
2answers
927 views

How accurately can 使い be translated as “angel”?

On jisho.org, 使い is translated with words such as "errand", and the same holds true on translate.google.com. Neither site is offering "angel" as a suggestion. Yet in Matthew 1:20, the phrase:     ...
7
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3answers
487 views

Does さえ mean “even” in the following sentence?

I encountered the following on our daily reading. どのような企業{きぎょう}も、創業期{そうぎょうき}には全社員が昼食をとること さえ 忘れてしまうほど、忙しくフル回転していたものです。 In a business, a person was so busy that he forgot to eat lunch even ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Other meanings of でしょう besides “probably”

でしょう can usually be understood to mean "probably." But does it sometimes mean the same thing as ですね? What other meanings can it have? Can it mean "you know?"
7
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3answers
481 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? ...
7
votes
1answer
434 views

Why does きいろ mean yellow rather than green?

I know that most of "why" questions don't make much sense as far as linguistics are concerned but I'll ask anyway. I know that き means a tree. いろ means color. It doesn't take a genius to guess that ...
7
votes
3answers
743 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?
7
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1answer
2k views

Would 私は怖い mean “I'm scared” or “I'm scary”?

Or does it mean both? If so, is there any way to explicitly distinguish between "I'm scared" and "I'm scary"? If it only means one and not the other, how would you say the other?
7
votes
2answers
368 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?
7
votes
2answers
987 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?
7
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1answer
531 views

What does かの日 mean?

In my Japanese Bible, I've seen several passages that use the phrase かの日. Here are a couple. ...
7
votes
1answer
861 views

What is the meaning of あるある?

I saw it used on Twitter several times, but googling around I couldn't figure it out. Here are some examples. "@mao_sid: 24あるある。シーズン2ぐらいから、あのちょいちょい入ってくるデジタル時計いらないなぁって思いだす。" "@mao_sid: ...
7
votes
2answers
634 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
466 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
249 views

How broad is the meaning of 薬?

I saw on a board the other day someone referring to insecticide as "薬", which doesn't really fit with the English conception of "medicine". I looked up "薬" in Kenkyuusha, and sure enough, "chemical" ...
7
votes
1answer
178 views

Meaning of る in 問われたる

From the beginning of the novel "The Grove", what does the る mean in 検非違使に問われた る 木樵りの物語 問われた is the passive of 問う, but where does the る come from? Is it the short form of いる?
7
votes
2answers
529 views

Why does 留守{るす} have two almost opposite meanings?

Why does 留守{るす} have two almost opposite meanings? One is "to keep the door" or "to look after home" and the other almost opposite meaning is "not at home".
7
votes
1answer
127 views

I can't find a translation for 言やいー

I would very much appreciate it if someone could tell me what 言やいー refers to. All I know is that 言 has something to do with speaking or words, but that alone doesn't help. Is it slang? The entire ...
7
votes
2answers
200 views

Can んだった and んじゃなかった be used like the past version of んだ and んじゃない?

I know that んだった and んじゃなかった can be used to say "Should have done" and "Shouldn't have done". I am wondering, however, if they can be used as a past version of んだ Take for example this conversation: ...
7
votes
1answer
62 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
204 views

How should I understand the use of particle に in the context of 受身形 and 自動詞 in these sentences?

夕焼けに染まる 夕焼けに染められる I got both examples from here and here respectively. I understand what these sentences mean, but I'm a little confused as to how sentence particle ’に’ works in these sentences. ...
7
votes
1answer
152 views

What may be the difference between the usage of 自尊心 ,誇りand 自慢?

I read a paragraph and the paragraph contains the word 自尊心. I want to know meaning of 自尊心. Dictionary says 自尊心 = pride. Is it same with 誇り? or 自慢? What may be the difference between the usage of ...
7
votes
2answers
437 views

Meaning of …立てちゃいなよ

I am organizing an event and posted a flyer on a famous SNS. Someone commented on it saying: イベント立てちゃいなよ From the context I guess it is advising me to create an event (SNS feature), am I mistaken? ...
7
votes
1answer
255 views

What are the differences between すぐ、もうすぐ、すぐに?

As far as I am aware, すぐに means "immediately", but in which contexts can you use もうすぐ and すぐ? 
6
votes
3answers
672 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.
6
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3answers
318 views

より not used for comparing?

The title of a piano arrangement of a Touhou song (Hakurei Reimu's Theme) is: 「東方永夜抄 - Imperishable Night.」 より 博麗霊夢のテーム (Question) What does より do in the title? If it were to mean "from the ...
6
votes
4answers
225 views

Why is coffee with shochu or awamori called コーヒー割{わ}り “split / divided coffee”?

About five nights ago I went out with a local friend to a traditional Okinawan club in Naha. We were of course drinking 泡盛{あわもり} (awamori) with water and ice. But the girl working there had a drink ...
6
votes
3answers
943 views

Is it true that the word “Omar” means “baby toilet” in Japanese?

I know it sounds funny, but my name is Omar, and one of my friends said that my name means "toilet for babies" in Japanese. I wanted to check if this is correct, because Google Translate did not help ...
6
votes
4answers
233 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
243 views

What is a 丁寧 food?

When eating ramen, a Japanese person commented on how the ramen of this shop are 丁寧. What does 丁寧 means in the context of food? 丁寧 means polite in social contexts, but I am not sure it the same ...
6
votes
1answer
743 views

Is「うそおっしゃい」to be taken literally here?

In the video game Ripening Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love, the protagonist Tingle meets a fortune teller who demonstrates her powers to him. She asks him, "You come from a far away town, right?" If ...
6
votes
3answers
278 views

What does で mean when asked as a question?

I've come across several instances in manga where the simple question of "で?" is used. What could it mean? I'm guessing it means something like "Is that so?," but I'm not sure.
6
votes
2answers
450 views

What does 側 at the end of a verb mean?

I haven't seen this very often at all, so this has got me stumped. Here's an example with it showing up frequently: http://www.orenoh.com/knowledge/mensetu-shikaku.html The title, for example: ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is “田舎” a derogatory term?

I've heard about 田舎, or more likely the English word "inaka" derived from the Japanese word, being used in a pejorative way by assistant English teachers: Inaka (田舎 inaka) is a Japanese term ...
6
votes
2answers
703 views

What does 「など」 mean in this context?

I have been translating articles from NHK News Easy for practice, and I've noticed they sometimes use 「など」in a way I'm not familiar with. For example, in an article about a train that's about to be ...
6
votes
3answers
196 views

What difference is there between ディスカウント and バーゲン?

What difference is there between ディスカウント and バーゲン? In English, the verb "Discount" is commonly used when talking about a corporate store deciding without any negotiation with the buyer to reduce the ...
6
votes
2answers
150 views

Why does the waiter use past tense here

When I was trying to order a set meal in the restaurant, the waiter said Aランチのほうでよろしかったでしょうか I am not sure why the past tense よろしかった is used here, I personally would say Aランチのほうでよろしいでしょうか ...
6
votes
2answers
727 views

Does なかなか (with negative verb) mean “by no means” or “considerably”?

WWWJDIC defines なかなか (with negative verb) as by no means But shouldn't it have been considerably ? By no means means 100% not considerably means like 85% not So does なかなか (with negative verb) ...
6
votes
2answers
154 views

What is “koto” used for?

I know "koto" means thing, but I've seen it used like this in my Self-Study Japanese book: Nihon no koto ga yoku wakarimasu ka. and Chiimu no koto o kangaete imasshita Does this mean Japan's thing ...
6
votes
2answers
176 views

Difference between 回復【かいふく】, 修復【しゅうふく】, 復旧【ふっきゅう】 and 復興【ふっこう】

Here is the sentence: 約{やく}300年{ねん}前{まえ}の絵{かい}画{が}の __ が終{お}わり、~。 This sentence fragment is taken from JLPT1 test book. And there you have to pick one correct answer from 4 words to fill in the ...
6
votes
5answers
535 views

What is the meaning of のか and how does it differ from か?

What is the meaning of のか in the following sentences? Does it have the same meaning as のですか? 漢字はどう正しく書くのか、どう正しく読むのか、彼らは時々迷います。 参加するのか、参加しないのか、ここではっきり返事しなさい。 Also, I have found sentences of ...
6
votes
1answer
325 views

Is there a different meaning for ごちそうさま!

I have posted a "status" on Facebook: Dear santa, I would like for you to bring him for christmas My boyfriend commented: Your Wish is my command! And my Japanese manager (from our office) ...
6
votes
2answers
169 views

Help translating よなも in a song

This is from a Trigun soundtrack, song called Sound Life (lyrics), 3rd line: 3つ目の夜に ワルツの子は世界面にウエーブを 打つ The 世界面 is translated as "world face", however pronunciation is given as よなも. I can't find ...
6
votes
1answer
190 views

Cohortative ましょう with and without the auxiliary construction ~てみる

In "何かしてみましょう。" meaning "Let's try/do something.", what is the literal translation of "してみましょう"? I've got "して" means "doing" and "みましょう" means "let's watch or let's?". How is "してみましょう" different ...
6
votes
3answers
176 views

Does the use of は or omitting は affect the listener's reply?

This is a question taken from a JLPT excercise workbook. Person A: 新聞をよく読みますか。 Person B: そうですね。毎日は[Fill in this blank]。 I am given 4 choices, of which only 2 are conjugated correctly. ...
6
votes
2answers
241 views

What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば?

What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば? How would you translate this?
6
votes
1answer
230 views

Other uses of “imperative prohibition” form eg わかるな ・すわんな

I saw a film where in two separate scenes the characters seemed to use the "imperative-prohibition" to invite the opposite action: 1.In one scene a father after explaining something to his son ...
6
votes
2answers
204 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 ...