8

For the longest time, I had never seen yatsuatari written down. I always figured it was written 奴当たり, which I figured would have been derived from 「あの奴に当たる」 or something.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it was actually written 八つ当たり! I found myself rather confused by the kanji here. What does 八 "eight" have to do with 八つ当たり "venting one's anger on other people"?

12

I think it means to vent the anger in the 8 compass directions. I.e. you are so angry that the effects reach every direction around you.

Consider 四方八方. It refers to all sides or everywhere. I think 八つ refers to the 八方 part

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  • 3
    広辞苑 says: 誰彼の区別なく八方へ当たり散らすこと。関係のない人にまで怒り散らすこと。「部下に―する」 – snailplane Dec 19 '14 at 1:55
  • Similar expressions abound, e.g. 八方ふさがり, 八方美人 – rjh Dec 24 '14 at 12:30

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