I found a list of Japanese idioms (without translations) that I wanted to study, so I sat down and looked up the meanings. Most of them I found in my trusty denshi jishyo, and a couple of them I had to resort to some internet resources (goo, Google Translate etc.), but I couldn't find the meaning of 体が余る anywhere. (Full disclosure: I found a couple of typos on the list, this one was listed as 体に余る, but Google points at it using instead.)

A direct translation would be something like "A surplus of body"...perhaps it means overweight?

  • 1
    I know「身に余る」but I don't think I've ever heard 体に余る or 体が余る・・・
    – user1016
    Feb 20, 2012 at 14:16
  • Do you have a source (document or link,) for that list of Japanese idioms you found?
    – summea
    Mar 1, 2012 at 23:43
  • @summea I found it in this forum here: jlptstudy.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=252 It's supposedly a list of idioms that where used on the ikkyuu jlpt, but A: That's outdated and they use the N system now, and B: There are no more "official lists" :) I still thought it was a good list to know so I'm learning them (or trying to) >^.^< Mar 2, 2012 at 3:34

1 Answer 1


I had never heard this idiom, but as you said, some people use it on the web. I suspect that it is dialectal. This post is not really an answer, but here I would like to list some usages on the web. It seems to me that there are several different usages.

Person is too tall for something, or body is not fully utilized





To feel that body is excessive

(I cannot get hold of this meaning.)



(The same text also contains “体をもて余したようなかんじになり、疲れているのに寝付くのに少し時間がかかるということです.”)

To get bored





  • 「体に余る」なら「身に余る」でしょうが、「体が余る」は語感的には「体を持て余す」に近いのでしょうか。いずれにせよ、標準的な日本語として認知されていないので、回答できないとするのが正しい判断なのでしょうね。
    – user20624
    Dec 26, 2017 at 10:51

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