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My Japanese friend sent me a picture of a cat peeking around a corner and the hiragana says either ちらっ or ちらつ.

I’m guessing it means peek-a-boo from the context.

What does it mean and is it chiratsu , chiraa or something else ?

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「ちらっ」 with a small っ is a very common onomatopoeic word describing a momentary glance. The pitch accent is on the 「ら」.

When combined with a verb, we add a 「と」 and say 「ちらっと見{み}る」 ("to have a momentary look").

「ちらっ」, all by itself, does not mean a "peek-a-boo", but it can describe the looking-briefly part of it.

We have the interesting-sounding word 「いないいないばあ」 for a "peek-a-boo". The 「ばあ」 part at the end is onomatopoeic and it is like a highly emphasized and exaggerated version of 「ちらっ」.

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