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
104 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
340 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
117 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
254 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
141 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
4answers
320 views

Meaning of という when it doesn't mean 'call', 'be called', or 'say'

I'm having a little trouble parsing the usage of 「という」 when it it has meanings other than to call, to be called or to say. I often see sentences like 「いざという時, ということだ」 and 「これという問題はない」. The dictionary ...
5
votes
1answer
157 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
2answers
426 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。
5
votes
1answer
329 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
501 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
211 views

Help with this sentence fragment containing “思想統制”

I came across this example sentence for the grammar point ~にあって, which indicates that something is under a particular circumstance. 彼女は戦争中、思想統制下にあってなお、自由な精神を持ち続けた。 I understand the first and the ...
5
votes
1answer
172 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
162 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
370 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
207 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
166 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
170 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
190 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
312 views

Usage of なんて in this sentence

”正直友達が死んだらこんなにへこむなんておもってみなかった”  I cant understand this sentence.
5
votes
1answer
179 views

Difference between 下る、下りる、下がる?

I cannot, for the love of my life, understand the difference between 下る{くだる} 下りる{おりる} 下がる{さがる} Don't they all mean the same, basically? Is there a difference, and if yes, how could I proceed to ...
5
votes
1answer
277 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
311 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
312 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
151 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
2answers
200 views

Do 気が[付]{つ}く and 気[付]{づ}く have the same meaning?

If they both mean the same, is が optional?
5
votes
1answer
192 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
3answers
153 views

Meaning of 右端揃 in “これ右端揃うかな?”

I received this email from someone close, who has a deadline to finish a graduation thesis: 期日は20日です(>д<) これ右端揃うかな?笑 右端揃 means "right-alignment" but I don't understand what is the meaning of ...
5
votes
1answer
204 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
282 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
2answers
401 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
4answers
200 views

Meaning of 共同志向性

In the context of a personality quizz, what does 共同志向性 means? I feel it is something like the quality of being a good team-player, but not sure. Google does not know
4
votes
2answers
254 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
1answer
454 views

What does “随分仲” mean in 「彼氏と随分仲が良い」?

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
356 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
2answers
240 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
2answers
465 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
2answers
258 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
221 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
420 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
613 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
649 views

How is「第3位を四捨五入」deconstructed to mean “round up to 2 decimal places”?

小数第2位未満に端数が生じた場合は、小数第3位を四捨五入する I initially translated this sentence to: If a fraction with less than 2 decimal places is generated, round off to 3 decimal places. So: 2.1 ≈ 2.100 It felt ...
4
votes
2answers
202 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
430 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
2answers
674 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
758 views

What does やい mean? [closed]

Someone ended their sentence with やいな. What dialect is this? What does やい mean? I assume that な means the same thing as in standard Japanese? Update: the original sentence was 「もう出来あがり?仕事はやいな~」.
4
votes
3answers
239 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
195 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
249 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
303 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
3answers
584 views

Is there a reliable translation of the kangxi radicals?

Inspired by the Wikipedia page on Kangxi radicals I decided to study the meaning and writing of radicals before I tackle the much more numerous kanji. But in working my way through the list, I started ...