Is there a Japanese idiom equivalent to "take with a grain of salt"?

In other words, an idiom which means "don't accept this information as completely true or the complete truth".

  • 2
    I would say that that idiom means a little more "don't immediately accept this information as true (until you learn more)". It doesn't mean that the information in question is actually false, but that it may be colored or prejudiced in some way. It's a way of telling someone to listen to the information and make their own conclusion. Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 5:45
  • To help people out with the expression, here's a wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grain_of_salt I actually found it pretty interesting :) Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 15:52

3 Answers 3


This may be close to that phrase:


話半分 denotes where roughly half of what is said is a truth, and half is a falsehood or exaggeration according to Daijirin.

Another similar phrase may be 割り引いて聞く, which means something similar to "discount some of what somebody says".

See also Space ALC for more expressions.



This literally means "don't swallow it whole" (like a pelican), in other words take it with a grain of salt. For example, when I went clothes shopping recently in Japan and the staff kept saying I looked so good in various things I tried on so I ended up buying a bunch of stuff. My Japanese friend later rebuked me by saying


"The staff are salespeople after all, so take what they say with a grain of salt." 奴ら here adds a mild derogatory connotation, like "slimy salespeople" but not as strong.

Other ways partly mentioned by others are also correct:

Xさんの言{い}うことを割{わ}り引{び}いて聞{き}く (or 話{はなし}半分{はんぶん}に聞{き}く)


For expressing such stories, the phrase 眉唾もの is close. Or, in the form of a predicate, you can say 眉に唾をつけて聞く.

  • Rikaichan is telling me that that means "false" but "to take with a grain of salt" doesn't necessarily mean that something is false. Wikipedia can explain it better then me: "[it] means to view something with skepticism, or to not take it literally." Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 15:51
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    Oh? But one of my English-Japanese dictionaries ("Lexis" from 旺文社) says 'take...with a grain of salt' means 「…を割引して聞く, "眉唾"だと思う」... ところでよく思うんですけど理解ちゃんって間違い多いですよね!
    – user1016
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 18:11
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    @Chocolate さん、そのとおりです。ありがとう。所詮、日本語を母語としない人が作ったものを日本語を母語としない人が引用して、日本語を母語とする人に対して、間違っているという間違った指摘をするというのが、なんとも滑稽です。
    – user458
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 18:27

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