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
204 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
163 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
161 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
202 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
294 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
285 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
150 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
260 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. ...
5
votes
1answer
189 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
339 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
376 views

Does なんて = なんと (いう)?

I know that なんて is a contraction of なんと, but has it also picked up the いう in its meaning? Because なんて means something, and I feel like 何という, which means "something called" (right?) could have just ...
4
votes
2answers
247 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
344 views

Kanji reading: 一人KY、実?中

This morning I took this picture, finding the 一人KY poster amusing: QUESTION: What is the kanji before 中 ? In Gjiten I can't find it by combining the radicals of 止 and 残, nor by number of strokes ...
4
votes
1answer
391 views

What does “随分仲” mean?

I've seen it in a number of places, mostly in contexts like this one: 彼氏と随分仲が良い For me, it feels like 随分仲 translates to "relationship". What worries me is that I have not found the exact pair 随分+仲 ...
4
votes
2answers
448 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
168 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
256 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
208 views

What is this 10^40 thing?

While checking out "正" (as in 正坐, specifically) I found that apparently one of the associated meaning would be 10^40 (i.e. 10 elevated at the 40th power). Example -taken from Tangorin.com: sei 【正】 ...
4
votes
1answer
519 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
129 views

想い vs. 思い - Do Both Mean Feeling?

Do both 思い and 想い mean "feeling", and if they do are they used interchangeably? If not, what is their difference in meaning?
4
votes
2answers
191 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
398 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
190 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
352 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
181 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
219 views

Meaning of 話になんない

I have a quote from this anime, FLCL: 「とにかくさ、バット振んなきゃ話になんないよ」. In the official translation it's translated as "nothing can happen until you swing the bat". Now my japanese is pretty rusty, as I ...
4
votes
2answers
265 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
130 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
1answer
178 views

Help with the meaning of 大絶賛 in this sentence

というわけで、俺は実家で只今大絶賛ひとり暮らし中である。 From what I can tell, the speaker is saying that for reasons mentioned he is living alone at home, but I don't see how 大絶賛 (which means very high praise) affects the ...
4
votes
1answer
393 views

In concrete terms, what does 惣菜 mean?

I understand the dictionary definition of 惣菜: 日常のおかず。副食物。 Basically, "a thing you frequently eat as an accompaniment to rice; a [non-staple] side dish". Practically speaking, though, I don't ...
4
votes
1answer
136 views

Is this word slang? アメテ

I can't find a definition for this word アメテ. Aside from sounding like an amateur, the word didn't make sense in the context. In the context, a character was flipping out. The entire sentence he ...
4
votes
2answers
475 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
1answer
92 views

Meaning of ひとつで自由に出せるように

The sentence is: ギャンブラーを名乗るなら、采の目ぐらい、投げ方ひとつで自由に出せるようになっておけ. MC is revealing a secret how to win every dice game. But I'm not sure the meaning of his words. Does it mean throwing dice one by ...
4
votes
2answers
173 views

五年ぶり、ぶり返す、。。。What does ぶり mean?

Where does the ぶり in 五年ぶり (Five years ago?) and ぶり返す come from, does it have a kanji, and what does it mean?
4
votes
2answers
139 views

Meaning of まんまと in this sentence

Here is the sentence : てめえの罠にまんまとかかってやる。 Does まんまと means that the speaker fell into the trap easily or voluntarily? Or is the idea that he is willing to fall into the trap only contained in てやる? ...
4
votes
1answer
157 views

What do ジャンルくじイラスト and デリケートなジャンル mean?

My circle (student club) at a Japanese university is preparing for the school festival. One option for participating is to draw and submit a 「ジャンルくじイラスト」. Does this translate to "genre lottery ...
4
votes
1answer
127 views

What does “POP” mean in the context of charity/forms/information?

What does "POP" mean below? このたびのスペシャルイベントでも、オーディエンスのみなさんがサポートしたくなるようなプロジェクトについて、会場でPOPなどで紹介し、ドネイション(基金)を募りたいと考えています。 Also: 団体名と簡単な概要入りの共通POPはこちらで作ります。 Also: This PDF lists 共通POP一枚 as a ...
4
votes
2answers
326 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
379 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
2answers
199 views

出身はどこ vs. どこの出身

Does saying どこの出身 sound any different than saying 出身はどこ? More generally, does adnominally modifying a noun have some other feeling associated with in? That is, in comparison to just using a standard ...
4
votes
1answer
102 views

Difference between かおり and におい

In a TV show I am watching (孤独のグルメ, perhaps many of you have heard of it) the gentleman is about to drink some coffee but pauses to savour the aroma. He says いい かおり だ Which I translate as "good ...
4
votes
1answer
265 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
403 views

What does ヘニャッ mean?

What does ヘニャッ mean in the following sentence? やっぱり甘えたいと思う時あいますよね。疲れている時とか、ヘニャッってなりたくなる 時。
4
votes
1answer
618 views

What's the difference between 招待, 招く and 誘う?

I've stumbled upon these 3 words. I think meaning of 招待 is: invite (as in a formal invitation) The other two seem rather confusing to me, though.
4
votes
1answer
282 views

方 - also read ほう when referring to a person?

The following sentence is from "A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar": 留守番電話は、一方ではかかる方にもかける方にも便利な面もあるが、他方ではお互いに直接話が出来ないから、不自然な面もある "The answering machine is, on the one hand, very ...
4
votes
1answer
186 views

Payment types in receipts

If I find one of the following words on a receipt before the total sum: クレジット クレジット支払 クレジット支払額 クレジット計 クレジット売上 Can I conclude that the transaction was paid for by credit card? And what does it ...
4
votes
2answers
253 views

Difference between words that describe the idea of neighborhood/being close to something

Can somebody describe the difference between these words(physical distance and maybe politeness of these words, or any aspects that you think are important to understand these). Can all these words ...
4
votes
1answer
555 views

Meaning of 「そればかりか、〜Vーるというようなことさえ、始めはしない。」

I am struggling to grasp the meaning of this expression 「そればかりか、〜Vるというようなことさえ、始めはしない」It comes up in the following sentence. The English translation is my best effort but I am guessing from the ...