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

5
votes
1answer
127 views

What's the difference between 舟 and 船?

They both mean "ship/boat". Are they completely interchangeable? Do they signify boats of different sizes or uses (people, cargo, etc.)? Is only 船 used in compounds to describe metaphorical "boats" ...
5
votes
2answers
161 views

あれで for surprise - confusing example sentence

My book explains that あれで can be used to indicate mild surprise, and gives some example sentences. They all make sense to me except this one: ...
5
votes
1answer
166 views

What are some translations for 後は無い?

Does it have a less literal meaning that "nothing left behind"?
5
votes
2answers
290 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
251 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
126 views

What kind of organisms can be covered by 益虫, 害虫 or 虫?

I came across someone describing a Nihon yamori / gekko as a 益虫, and using "useful insect" in English. Gekkos aren't insects, but it made me curious what it actually does mean. jisho.org only ...
5
votes
1answer
208 views

Does 寒気がする really mean “have a chill” or is it just cold?

Can the expression: 寒気{さむけ}が する really mean feel cold and also have a chill (as per many dictionaries)? To me, to have a chill/bug means to be sick from a virus/cold for a short period: have I ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What does どうだ mean?

So, I have the sentence 礼儀のひとつも見せたらどうだね騎士殿 I am getting stumped on the どうだ part. If I am reading the slang dictionary correctly (and I can only find it in a non-English one), it seems to be ...
5
votes
1answer
193 views

Meaning of として in this sentence

I don't get why として is used instead of を in this sentence, as it doesn't seem to fit with the "as" sense that I know. 品詞と無関係にコソアドとして一括して扱うのが一般的です。 What I understand is this: Treating コソアド as ...
5
votes
1answer
237 views

The meaning of “ぶん” in “見ているぶんには…”

The line I first saw it in is: 大げさなジェスチャーは小さいころからのクセだ。見てるぶんには面白いので俺はあえて注意しない。 A few other examples I've found: "遠目で見ている分にはいいけれど" "見てるぶんには可愛いけど…こびとづかんになりたくはない。" "Paris Photo ...
5
votes
1answer
280 views

Why do ~なんてもんじゃないよ/~たのなのって=とても?

Both the following two expressions from my text book 完全マスター聴解N1 are explained as とても(高い/人が多かった): 高いなんてもんじゃないよ 人が多かったのなのって Could someone explain what they are based on/where they come from ...
5
votes
1answer
110 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.
5
votes
1answer
185 views

Definition of ブラコン when discussing musical preferences

A Japanese person told me that they have ブラコン。I looked it up on Wikipedia and it said something like an emotional attachment to one's brother. But they said that it meant something like someone who ...
5
votes
1answer
96 views

Help for this expression: 猿は人間に毛が三筋足らぬ

I read this expression in a text. It seems to be an old proverb about monkeys. But I am not sure about its meaning. Why 筋, for instance? Does it means muscle? reasoning faculty? Why would they be ...
5
votes
1answer
70 views

What does の頃【ころ】 mean in this sentence?

I don't know what の頃【ころ】 means in this sentence. I know ころ means 'about' or 'around' but I still don't understand its use here. ロンドンに来たばかりの頃【ころ】、私は「Chip Butty」を知りませんでした。 My best translation: I've ...
5
votes
1answer
133 views

Does this sentence using も twice say that the speaker doesn't have 女子力?

I am participating in a relay manga through a university student group in Japan, and the previous member's contributed pages to the manga about a 女子力バトル introduced a sole male character who seems to ...
5
votes
1answer
181 views

What does ドン引き mean?

While i was talking with my japanese friends, that word just came up they could't explain that. Can you tell me what does ドン引き mean?
5
votes
1answer
385 views

I don't understand the meaning of the 2 sentences. Can somebody help me?

This is dialogue (It's from magazine). A: 現実場面では気★いが山のように出て事件も死ぬほど起こしてて、タブー云々と言ってるうちに表現が現実に負けちゃってるじゃん、最近って。 B: 俺も別に[奇]{き}をてらってタブー演るわけじゃなくて. I absolutely don't understand the first part of the first ...
5
votes
1answer
163 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
150 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
322 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
192 views

Why is topology called 位相幾何学?

Topology in English is called 位相幾何学 in Japanese; also, topological space is called 位相空間. But why is topology called 位相幾何学? What is the correspondence between topo and 位相? What is the origin of 位相?
5
votes
1answer
283 views

自分の vs 自らの when used for humans

What's the difference between 自分の and 自らの? Both can be used to mean "oneself", but is there a difference in their nuances / usages? (e.g. what would be the difference between あの子は、自らの命と引換に… and ...
5
votes
1answer
164 views

勤め vs 役目​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

What is the difference between 勤め and 役目? Both seems to mean duty (something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation), but what is the difference in their nuance and ...
5
votes
1answer
140 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?
5
votes
1answer
139 views

What does “気結び” mean?

According to a (non japanese, but he spent lots of time in Japan) Aikido teacher I know, this is supposed to represent "an obligation bounding student and teacher". To be honest, I am a bit ...
5
votes
1answer
236 views

What does 身の縮む思い mean?

I found a phrase in one vocabulary book about the usage of 縮む. I am not clear on the meaning of this phrase: 身の縮む思い I think it can be the same meaning as 恥ずかしい. Is that right?
5
votes
1answer
182 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. ...
5
votes
1answer
252 views

how did 公 (こう) come to be derogatory

My dictionary says this word means something like "official; public" - how does the word go from that definition to being used as a derogatory suffix for animals and people? One example the ...
5
votes
1answer
175 views

What does うんたらかんたら mean?

I recently heard this phrase being told in a show, but I just couldn't make sense of what it means...And what really caught my attention was that the listener was really surprised to hear this phrase ...
5
votes
1answer
331 views

What does お土産持しててね mean? [on hold]

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
119 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
242 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
207 views

Meaning of あくまで in あくまで私個人の意見です

What is the meaning of あくまで in the sentence あくまで私個人の意見です ? ALC: back and edge, consistently GJiten: to the end; to the bitter end; to the last; stubbornly; persistently; to the utmost What nuance is ...
4
votes
2answers
289 views

What does 母を恋はずや mean?

What is the meaning of 母を恋はずや in the film title? Edit: the meaning of "恋う" according to the dictionary is "romantic love" as in "koi suru". E.g. ...
4
votes
1answer
143 views

Does 両目 have a special meaning or is it just a mistake?

Today I found this sentence on my Japanese textbook (みんなの日本語中級I - 本冊 pg. 70) And it didn't make any sense to me. 前から2両目の電車を降りたところで待っています。 I looked for 両目 on 電子辞書 and it says it means both eyes. ...
4
votes
2answers
252 views

餌食 vs 獲物​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

What is the difference between 餌食{えじき} and 獲物{えもの}? Both mean "prey", so how do we decide when to use which? What is the difference in their nuances?
4
votes
2answers
417 views

Meaning of それだけ in this sentence

Here is the sentence : 人数が多ければそれだけお前達が有利になる。 I've difficulties finding information about this word. From the examples I read, it seems to me that, when used after a clause ending in ば its ...
4
votes
1answer
411 views

Does 鉄拳 mean “fist” or “iron fist”?

The kanji for 鉄拳 seems to suggest that the word means "iron fist". However, various dictionaries suggests that the meaning is simply "fist". For example, Edict shows that the meaning for 鉄拳 is ...
4
votes
2answers
185 views

Meaning of 気負わずに奮ってご参加ください

What does 気負わずに奮ってご参加ください mean? Is it like 気軽にご参加ください? Context: an event information page announcing pre-requisites for attendance: 前提知識 ...
4
votes
3answers
372 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
169 views

Meanings of ちゃんと

I always thought ちゃんと meant "properly" or "exactly", but I begin to think that its meaning is broader, more like "as it is supposed to be" or "as you're supposed to do" because in some sentence it ...
4
votes
1answer
330 views

Could somebody please translate this and show me what I'm missing?

Just for a little bit of context: There's a flyer about a Japanese church's beach retreat that's been sent around, and I'm trying to translate it for practice. That being said, the flyer has been ...
4
votes
1answer
168 views

How does ダンスとかあったら全然だったと思う work/mean?

A:藤原さんは、もちろん歌だよね? B:うん。わたしにはそれしかないから……ダンスとかあったら全然だったと思う I don't get what the part ダンスとかあったら全然だったと思う is saying. 全然 is an adverb but there's no verb after it but 思う, but that's separated by a ...
4
votes
2answers
220 views

Meaning of でもない in this context?

While listening to the song "Yasashisa no Riyuu", I noticed the following sentence: 今は誰の名前でもない 輝きの彼方へ Which by the fansub is translated like this: Now it doesn't matter whose name it may ...
4
votes
2answers
127 views

How do specific characters get included in 囲み文字 and what are the meanings they convey?

I have this book 「図解でわかる 文字コードのすべて」 which lists many of the Unicode and JIS symbols that one can type. I noticed the section of enclosed alphanumerics (囲み文字). Not all kanji are included in 囲み文字 which ...
4
votes
2answers
402 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
277 views

Similar example sentences give different meanings

I was looking for the verb しゃべる in the dictionary, as it got me curious since I've only known 話す for a while. In the dictionary there are two example sentences which look the same, but the dictionary ...
4
votes
3answers
314 views

Relation between kanji readings and meanings

I understand that a kanji can have several possible readings and several (typically related) meanings. Furthermore, I've noticed that a single reading typically corresponds to some subset of the ...
4
votes
1answer
223 views

What geographical scope does アジア have?

In English, the geographical scope of "Asia" and "Asian" depends on which dialect of English you speak. For example, in British English the terms often refer to the Indian subcontinent, whereas in ...