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
2answers
292 views

I am wondering if someone can shed light on this tweet from Japan?

A friend of mine recently translated a Japanese article from Japan's October issue of An An magazine and sent her a tweet in English telling her that it was completed. The author replied with the ...
5
votes
3answers
355 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
108 views

Meaning of 「神様、仏様、X様」

I was recently watching a few videos about 橋本環奈{はしもとかんな}, and I came across an introduction (if it can be called that?) that I've never heard before. Whenever she introduces herself, she finishes ...
5
votes
2answers
765 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?
5
votes
2answers
385 views

Making sense of 「出てったって待ってて」

I'm reading Murakami Haruki's ノルウェイの森 and, although I've come across many sentences I haven't been able to grasp too clearly, I recently came across one that was also funny to pronounce. Can anyone ...
5
votes
2answers
262 views

Scope of negation with 〜したくない

In English, we can distinguish between not wanting to do something, and wanting to not do something. It's not a distinction that we usually make, but it is possible: P = "do anything" A. "I want to ...
5
votes
2answers
116 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
130 views

Difference between してください and なってください in this sentence

Is there a difference in translation and meaning between these two sentences or are they practically interchangeable? ギターのボリュームを小さくしてください。 ギターのボリュームを小さくなってください。 My translation: Please can ...
5
votes
2answers
236 views

How do the two が in もう止まらない あなたがあなたのことが恋しい work?

The following lyrics are from a song called "YOU": "もう止まらない あなたがあなたのことが恋しい" Mou tomaranai  anata ga anata no koto ga koishii I know that "mou tomaranai" = "no longer stops" and "anata no koto ...
5
votes
1answer
193 views

Does 数独{すうどく} really mean “single number”?

I've never actually played a sudoku puzzle (I know, I live in a cave!). I just saw the word written in kanji somewhere, which rekindled my interest. Wikipedia states: The puzzle was popularized ...
5
votes
2answers
340 views

What does おめでとう煜ございます mean?

At first I thought it was a typo, but inserting the character 煜 into birthday wishes or the like seems to be common, e.g. おめでとう煜ございます おめでとうございます煜 おめでとう煜ございます煜 I have several problems: What ...
5
votes
2answers
337 views

What is the function of と when it's not quoting, or doing exhaustive listing?

Consider these two sentences:  (1) 母はついてくるようにアリスに合図した (Mother signaled to Alice to follow her)  (2) 父は手で私に部屋を出ていくようにと合図した。 (Father gestured to me to go out of the room) And another sentence ...
5
votes
2answers
155 views

What does 「なし」in 「問題なし」 mean?

I just started playing the video game Mother 3, and if you try to examine the trash can in front of his house, Lucas says, 問題なし. I expect this means something like, "no problem here", but I haven't ...
5
votes
1answer
172 views

Usage (correctness) of だと after verbs

I've noticed だと showing up after verbs for a while now in various forms of media, such as blogs, anime, regular TV shows & also when speaking to Japanese people. However, I was originally told ...
5
votes
1answer
143 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
226 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
170 views

What are some translations for 後は無い?

Does it have a less literal meaning that "nothing left behind"?
5
votes
2answers
300 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
279 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
512 views

What does セレブ mean these days?

There appears to be some disagreement/confusion about the precise meaning of セレブ - some dictionaries claim that セレブ means the same thing as English "celebrity", while others claim that it just means ...
5
votes
1answer
131 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
214 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
208 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
290 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
332 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
112 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
188 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
98 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
2answers
203 views

What is the difference between それでいい and それがいい here?

As I understand it, それでいい means 'it is fine like this' and それがいい means 'this is fine', but what is the protagonist trying to convey here by first using それでいい and then correcting himself to それがいい? ...
5
votes
1answer
108 views

Meaning of 玉ヒュン

What does 玉ヒュン mean? It seems to have something to do with not experiencing fear of heights. Context (posted on social media with a picture taken vertiginous height): 女だけど玉ヒュン!
5
votes
1answer
234 views

Translation check and meaning help please

Would the following be a good translation of the text in the above two speech bubbles? "Everything in this universe is composed of atoms. Destroying something is equivalent to destroying the ...
5
votes
1answer
95 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
140 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
302 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
430 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
168 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
155 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
338 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
766 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
201 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
162 views

What does 腕が光る mean?

I've tried Googling for Japanese/Japanese dictionary definitions of this phrase, but can only find usages so far, which haven't helped. More context: "俺たち職人の腕が光る" I think from context that the ...
5
votes
1answer
168 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
154 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
182 views

I am struggling with the sometimes conflicting uses of 先

Rikaisama's definition of 先 includes meanings like previous; prior; former; some time ago. However it also includes meanings such as front; ahead; the future; destination. I am struggling to make ...
5
votes
1answer
283 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
4answers
284 views

Can 猿 technically mean “ape”?

It has long been a pet peeve of mine when people talk about apes calling them "monkeys". Recently I've seen bonobos being called 猿 in an anime, so from that it's pretty clear that 猿 also refers to ...
5
votes
1answer
146 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
253 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
190 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. ...