I was watching an episode of ファニエスト外語学院 on judo.

At 6:26, the judoka remarked how his opponent ボビー could win him just by his horrid face, saying 「顔で一本取られた」って感じです.

I am interested in understanding why the 助数詞 was used in the expression, especially when it is used for small, long things. I looked up 一本取る in ディジタル大辞泉 , which gives the definition 柔道・剣道などで、完全に技が一つ決まること。 So I believe 一本 here houses the meaning 'in one go/shot/try', though I am not completely sure.

  • Just to be clear: Is your question about understanding the set phrase 一本取られる or a request for Japanese idioms that use counters? If the former, it may help contextualize things to keep in mind that in Judo, Kendo and other Japansee martial arts 一本 is a unit used for scoring. If the latter, this question is very broad and I'm not sure it's feasibly answerable.
    – Mindful
    Feb 14, 2021 at 3:12
  • Hi @Mindful, I understand 一本取られる now, after realising 一本 has a special meaning in this context. That actually reminds me of a phrase I saw before, 男一匹, which uses the counter 一匹 on humans, conferring the nuance of masculinity. So I would just like to see a few more examples where counters are not used in their regular sense.
    – L Parker
    Feb 14, 2021 at 3:21
  • 男一匹 is not a set phrase/idiom, it's just deliberately using the 匹 counter to make the given man sound unthreatening/insignificant. As one would expect from the counter for small animals, it's diminutive, not masculinizing. This is addressed in some detail here. However, "interesting uses of counters" is a very broad question.
    – Mindful
    Feb 14, 2021 at 3:37
  • I'm content with just a few examples, given the broadness of this question. As for 男一匹, my dictionary gives the definition 一人前の男子であることを強め、また自負していう語。「男一匹約束はたがえぬ」. If I read correctly, I believe it is a boastful way of addressing oneself, interestingly with no condescension whatsoever.
    – L Parker
    Feb 14, 2021 at 3:46
  • Yeah it does appear that 男一匹 is a set phrase that carries the opposite meaning of what you would expect from it, my bad there. I'm not sure how common this usage as an idiom is though; probably need a native speaker to speak to that.
    – Mindful
    Feb 14, 2021 at 3:55


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