I was under the impression that the word 翻る(ひるがえる)is an intransitive verb (which is also how it appears to be defined in dictionaries), but I've come across a use of it that appears to be transitive, in the phrase "今世紀に入ってからの歴史を翻っても…".

My question is, how should the word be interpreted in this context?

  • 1
    What comes after? If the 翻る is the verb that catches the previous phrase, I must say it's misuse. Oct 4, 2016 at 12:23
  • What follows is an independent clause, so the predicate to this phrase is 翻る. If the word has been used incorrectly, perhaps the author might have meant something like 振り返る?
    – Koxinga
    Oct 4, 2016 at 12:43
  • Yes, that's what I suspect. Or perhaps the author has mixed it up with 繙く【ひもとく】. Oct 4, 2016 at 12:49

1 Answer 1


I feel 翻る here is used as a motion verb, which often takes を even though it's intransitive. Perhaps the author intended to mean "go over / go through (a document, etc) again" by saying 翻る. I wouldn't say it's a common usage, but I wouldn't call it a definitive mistake, either.

As you can see in these examples, 翻って考える is a common idiom that literally means "turn back and think over again", and 翻って on its own can mean the same thing.

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