This usage of 耳が痛い seems to overlap with 耳に胼胝ができる, and is not listed in any dictionary I checked.







This meaning is also absent from here and there.

However, the website 絵で分かる lists three meanings:

  • 自分{じぶん}の失敗{しっぱい}について、聞{き}くことがつらい
  • 自分の悪{わる}いところを言{い}われて、聞くことがつらい
  • 何度{なんど}も同{おな}じことを言われて、聞くことがつらい

This meaning also seems to appear in a book for children (I don't have the reference but I was told that this picture is from a book for children).

enter image description here

Hence my question. Did the usage of this proverb evolve or is the usage as 何度も同じことを言われて聞くことがつらい considered wrong?


They are not interchangeable.

耳が痛い is used after hearing a righteous criticism about you. It's an idiom that means "It's a tough remark but I must admit it's true". You don't have to hear it more than once. The first three authoritative dictionaries say nothing about repetition, do they? I don't know why some sources say 何度も, which I believe is not part of the meaning of this idiom.

耳にタコができる is a different idiom used after hearing the same thing many times and getting tired of it. Unlike 耳が痛い, you don't necessarily have to agree with what was said. Note that a タコ (usually written in kana, "callus") is something you get as a response to heavily repeated stimulation.

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  • Thanks, this corroborates with that there is no hidden meanings. – 永劫回帰 Jul 3 at 16:40

I have it in my dictionary, so I care share this interesting idiom:

みみがいたい 【耳が痛い, 耳がいたい】

表現 (句, 節, など.), 形容詞, 慣用表現
ⓐ being painfully-true (e.g. reprimand), making one's ears burn, striking home (e.g. remark)
ⓑ having an earache, feeling pain in one's ear

Source: 白檜辞書

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  • Thank you, that does confirm with one more source that the "countless times" is not part of the definition. – 永劫回帰 Jul 3 at 16:37

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