I came across a sentence recently which uses the word (or "words", I'm unsure) そつなく and was wondering at what exactly it means and how it is used, as I can't find it described as a structure anywhere and searching it on jisho.org comes up with the unhelpful translation of a "slip up" and the verb "cry" or "bird song".

The sentence is:


And is translated as: For my multi-talented sister, able do anything with ease, it seems that my commonplace self is something whose existence she finds very hard to forgive.

I assume the そつなく part means "with ease" but I was hoping someone could explain to me what words this is derived from whether it is a separate structure, or just an idiom, and how it fits into the sentence structurally? (as my googling hasn't turned up much that is helpful.)

  • 1
    I'm pretty sure edict (which is what jisho.org uses behind the scenes) has entries for both そつなく and そつなくこなす
    – oals
    Aug 22, 2016 at 18:59
  • You're right. For some reason jisho won't parse そつなく for me and breaks its into to separate words そつ and なく. I can only get to the そつなく full entry by following the links in this question. Aug 22, 2016 at 22:42

1 Answer 1


さまざまな才能に恵まれて、なんでも そつなく こなす姉にとって、平々凡々たる俺の存在はひどく許せないものらしい。

For this sentence (above), i guess these definitions are enough.


  1. without a flaw; accurately

  1. to handle flawlessly


. cautious; careful; shrewd; without error; without slip, ... See also そつがない -- Other forms ソツのない

ソツがない usually have very subtle negative connotations. (too shrewd, clever, too square, ... (boring) )

https://www.facebook.com/Daijisen/posts/851874638192072:0 ◆【抜け目がない】 注意深く、やることに抜けたところがない。また、自分の利益になりそうだと見れば、その機会を逃さない。

―――――――――――――――― この「自分の利益に…」のあたり、ちょっとクセ物ですよね。これの影響かどうか、【そつが無い】にも、「小利口だ」「優等生的すぎる」といったニュアンスを感じ取る人もいるようです。

  • Thank you. That's bizarre. For some reason jisho won't parse そつなく for me and breaks its into to separate words そつ and なく. Thank you for your in depth response though! Aug 22, 2016 at 22:42
  • ◆【抜け目がない】 注意深く、やることに抜けたところがない。・・・ から ・・・といったニュアンスを感じ取る人もいるようです。 まではどこからの引用ですか。
    – chocolate
    Aug 23, 2016 at 0:20

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