While I was reading a text, I came across this idiom 「蜘蛛の子を散らす」but this is how it shows up in online dictionaries. I understood what it means and in what context can be used but it would seem that most of the sentences that I have found also use ように, with the full expression being
「蜘蛛の子を散らすように逃げる」. The sentence from the text I was reading lacked ように and other verbs, only 散らす being present. I don't know why the author wrote it like this:
Because it lacks some particles, I wondered if it would translate differently.
Without the use of ように and 逃げる, it couldn't sound like "The cowardly boy scattered (in all directions like baby spiders ). Can it be translated just "The cowardly boy fled?".

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    No "の子"? No space/comma/line-break between 男 and 蜘蛛? What's the context? Is this a line in lyrics? Giving your own interpretation is good, but please don't forget to provide the context. Usually a few sentences/lines around the sentence in question will greatly help.
    – naruto
    Mar 17, 2018 at 20:51
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    ^ No.. 誰もがお前の不在を嘆く means "Everyone will grieve your absence"... "No one will grieve your absence" would be 誰もお前の不在を嘆かない
    – chocolate
    Mar 17, 2018 at 23:12
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    Can it be translated just "The cowardly boy fled?" -- Hm.. 散らせ is imperative, right?
    – chocolate
    Mar 17, 2018 at 23:19
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    All I can say for now is this looks like a tiny fragment from a poem or a song. People often have to read the whole lyrics/poem to say something about a single line (see this and this). For now, I don't even know how to correctly parse the line. It can be "male spider" or a "man, spider". If you're lucky the context may not be important (like your previous そんなだから question), but this time, I don't think I can post a good answer without access to the whole context.
    – naruto
    Mar 18, 2018 at 6:00
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    – chocolate
    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:17

1 Answer 1


(1) 臆病な男蜘蛛{おとこぐも}を散らせ

散らせ in the above sentence is an imperative form of 散らす as is said in Chocolate's comment.(+1)

(1) implies (2).

(2) 臆病な男どもを散らせ! or 臆病な男どもを蹴散{けち}らせ! Drive the cowardly men out!

The reason why they used 男蜘蛛{おとこぐも} in place of 男ども in the above sentence is that they imaged the idiom of "蜘蛛の子を散らす to go flying in all directions or to run off all directions". That is to say, I assume that they compared the cowardly men to baby spiders that escape as soon as they are threatened.

By the way, 男蜘蛛 is not an established word in Japanese language. Judging from the context, I could understand the meaning of the usage of it, but I think that it is a word promptly coined by the man/author who used the sentence with (1).

  • 1
    – naruto
    Mar 19, 2018 at 5:19

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