As stated in the topic, what does 死者は何も語らない mean, maybe as an idiom? The phrase is from a sentence in a novel, the speaker being a woman talking to a girl. As a background, the girl is getting revenge on the woman, who killed the girl's family and friends.


  • Actually it's the whole sentence (or idiom) I was asking the meaning for. I know the literal meaning that "Dead people don't (can't) talk", but the original context clearly shows that it is used as an idiom, not literally. Since then I've conducted further research on the internet and I'll report the results in the next comment. – DancefloorTsunderella Jun 15 '14 at 10:57
  • Though I cannot find any direct explanation of the phrase, usage seems to dictate that the meaning of 死者は何も語らない means "Since the dead cannot talk, you should not put your own words in their mouths, saying that they will agree or rejoice your doings (even if you thought you are doing it in their behalf)". – DancefloorTsunderella Jun 15 '14 at 11:05
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    @snailboat Sorry for not including the context in the first place. At first I thought it was an idiom complete in itself, and the context seems hard to explain too, so I left out the details. – DancefloorTsunderella Jun 15 '14 at 11:10
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    My interpretation: Since the her family are dead, they can't argue about whatever you say. The girl believes it's the woman who killed the her family while the woman doesn't agree. There is no way to prove it. – Yang Muye Jun 15 '14 at 13:27
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    Despite your comments and ナヲキ's tweet, I really don't see any semantic difference between "死者は何も語らない" and the well-known proverb "死人に口なし". I'm afraid I don't understand why you think this "死者は~" is used as an idiom. – naruto Jun 16 '14 at 4:49

It's a quite literal equivalent to the English "Dead men tell no tales."

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