When i was reading an entry about 暗峠 the writer mentioned an expression using 峠 which is「今夜が峠です」, they said that when a close person is seriously ill and are on their deathbed this expression is often used.


So what does it mean exactly?

Is it something like they are expressing how difficult a situation it is since 峠 has the meaning of difficult part or does it have the subtle meaning of wishing the ill person survives and expressing their sadness?

Are there any similar expressions in English?

  • When i was reading an entry about  _暗喩_? ?  Ok, it's more often ⇒隠喩 (いんゆ)
    – HizHa
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 19:17
  • 暗峠 is a mountain pass (kuragari mountain pass) that connects Nara and Osaka but i guess mentioning it wasn't necessary.
    – Moune
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 19:34
  • 1
    The use of the 親しい人 there may be a bit misleading; closeness has little to do with the expression per se and is at best only incidental to the circumstances in which such a statement is uttered.
    – goldbrick
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 20:40
  • So it's just describing the situation as it is regardless of emotions
    – Moune
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 21:21
  • 2
    – chocolate
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 1:03

3 Answers 3


峠 is the highest point of a mountain path.

It figuratively means the most difficult/hard point to overcome. So 今夜が峠だ means one is the closest to death tonight.

I don't think it has a nuance of familiarness or sadness; it just describes such a quite serious situation.

Another common phrase involving 峠 is 峠を越えた, which means one has survived and is getting better.


According to the dictionary:

とうげ【峠】: 物事の勢いの最も盛んな時。絶頂。
Climax, crisis, peak, the most difficult part
example: 病気は今夜が峠だ

So it should be that "they are expressing how difficult a situation is".

In English I would say something like "this is the moment of truth".


“今夜が峠だな。” -- I think emotion (closeness) is part of this expression. If two doctors are talking about a patient, they may not use such an expression (euphemism). Their conversation may be strictly in medical and technical terms.

Are there any similar expressions in English?

峠を越えた http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/over%20the%20hump (turned the corner)

  • over the hump

  • out of the woods !

  • on the comeback trail

  • on the mend

  • on the road to recovery

http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/crisis -- (the hump?), dire straits, turning point, moment of truth, ... ((the proverbial) Cape Horn?)

What have i missed ?

  • I also think that closeness is part of it even if a little, i've read that a doctor who would say that would only be on dramas or a ドラマ見すぎの頭のイカレタ迷医だけです。I wonder why though
    – Moune
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 23:43
  • 2
    – naruto
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 1:43

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