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What does this phrase mean?

目{め}くそ鼻{くそ}くそを笑{わら}うだよね。

Is it some sort of idiom? Does it have a parallel in English?

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I am starting with the grammar because the 「笑うだよね」 part might not make sense to some.

[目]{め}くそ[鼻]{はな}くそを[笑]{わら}うだよね。

=

『目くそ鼻くそを笑う』だよね。

=

『目くそ鼻くそを笑う』, as they say, eh?

Pretend to see a 「が」 after 「目くそ」.

It is quoting the saying 「目くそ鼻くそを笑う」, which literally means "Eye discharge laughs at booger." The saying means that Person A is criticizing Person B for the same negative quality that Person A himself has.

The English parallel would be "The pot calling the kettle black." There might be more, but my English proficiency is too limited to give you another.

  • 1
    "Eye discharge" sounds like the eye is infected, like 結膜炎. Is this what 目くそ means here, or is it more akin to plain 目脂? – istrasci Jul 8 '16 at 16:25
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    FWIW, this is one of my favorite ことわざ. When describing this to English speakers, I say "the eye booger laughs at the nose booger." Among the English speakers I grew up with, the term "booger" can be used somewhat flexibly to refer to any general blobby bit of mucus from either the eye or the nose. This construction also makes the parallel comparison more clear. – Eiríkr Útlendi Jul 8 '16 at 18:25
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    目くそ is not used commonly as 鼻くそ in modern Japanese; perhaps this proverb is the only place where we would see this word. Forgive me if 目くそ is common in some dialects. 目やに is much more common, but I don't how it differs from 目くそ. – naruto Jul 9 '16 at 1:05

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