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When scolding a misbehaving child, we tell them to be iikagen:

いい加減にしなさい。

But we can also tell a misbehaving child to stop being iikagen, or describe something bad as iikagen:

もういい加減でやめなさい。

彼のロシア語はいい加減なものだ。

I understand that いい加減に and いい加減で/な have different meanings, but how did those evolve from a word that literally/originally means "add and substract"?

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  • Definitely see the post linked by BJCUAI. That does a good job of explaining how the positive / negative senses arose from using the term in an objective or subjective manner. Also re: "add / subtract", the basic meaning was more like "adjust [to the right level]", by extension then "the level or degree of something". Consider the English phrase "the ups and downs [of something]". – Eiríkr Útlendi Mar 15 at 21:05
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    I've been wondering the same thing with the word 適当. Thanks BJCUAI. – DXV Mar 20 at 5:17

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