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Miyabe Kingo wrote in an English-language letter the phrase “a sharp zurusona wife” to describe the woman whose house he boarded at. "Zurusona" seems to be the insertion of a Japanese word written in romaji into his otherwise English sentence, which he felt best described her to the Japanese reader rather than writing a fully English description. What does it mean?

I tried looking it up under these spellings ずるそな、ずるそうな、 even づるそな、づるそうな but the only thing I found was 狡(ずる=cunning deed; sneaky person). Can 狡 be turned into a form that might be romanized as "zurusona"?

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    「ずるそうな」 is three words -- 「ずる + そう + な」. Of course, it will not be listed in a dictionary. It should not be; It is a whole phrase. – l'électeur Jul 12 '15 at 3:15
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    ずる(stem of the i-adjective ずるい) + そうな(連体形 of the auxiliary そうだ) – Chocolate Jul 12 '15 at 8:55
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狡{ずる}い = "sly / dishonest / sneaky." And 狡{ずる}そうな = "looks sly / dishonest / sneaky."

Does this help?

  • Yes. Do you have any idea of why the dictionaries couldn't pull that up by typing in ずるそうな or zurusouna? They only pulled up 狡, 狡い, and ズルズル – seijitsu Jul 12 '15 at 1:43
  • Well, I don't know what dictionaries you have looked up, but my impression is many Japanese dictionaries are content themselves with merely listing words as they are together with some synonyms, and don't care about explaining the usage. Thus.they can serve hardly more than thesauri. – eltonjohn Jul 12 '15 at 1:57
  • May I as which online dictionaries you use and/or which most Japanese use? Maybe I am not using the best ones. – seijitsu Jul 12 '15 at 1:58
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    The reason why you can't find ずるそうな in dictionaries is the same reason why you can't find "sly-looking" as a separate entry in English dictionaries. – naruto Jul 12 '15 at 8:55

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