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I recently came across the word いい加{か}減{げん} for the first time. Here's the definition I found:

いい加{か}減{げん}:

1. 無{む}責{せき}任{にん}で、当{あ}てにならない様{よう}子{す}。
仕{し}事{ごと}の後{あと}始{し}末{まつ}がいい加{か}減{げん}で困{こま}る。
2. ほどよい様{よう}子{す}。
お湯{ゆ}の温{おん}度{ど}がちょうどいい加{か}減{げん}になった。
3. かなり。大{だい}分{ぶ}。
いい加{か}減{げん}疲{つか}れた。

I.e.: 1. irresponsible, unreliable; 2. moderate; 3. quite, rather, considerably.

My problem is that I have a hard time fitting any of these definitions in the contexts where I first ran into いい加減.

One of these contexts was in one of the definitions of yet another word:

大{たい}抵{てい}:
...
3. ほどほどにする様{よう}子{す}。いい加{か}減{げん}。
わがままもたいていにしなさい。
...

If たいてい is another word for いい加減, then what could the example sentence above possibly mean? Since "ほどほどにする様子" appears alongside いい加減 in this definition, it would seem to me that the definition of いい加減 that applies here is the second one above (i.e. "moderate"), but then the last example sentence above would translate to "Be moderately selfish." Is this right? Somehow, it does not strike me as the typical example sentence in a dictionary. (If I attempt fitting any of the other two definitions of いい加減 into this example sentence, the results are even worse.)

Finally, here is another context in which I ran into いい加減. Yes, it's yet one more definition.

適{てき}当{とう}:
...
3. いい加{か}減{げん}な様{よう}子{す}。
適当なことを言う。

Again, I am left to figure out which of the definitions of いい加減 is intended here. Now, one other definition of 適当 is something like "appropriate, suitable, fitting," and it would be surprising that the same word could also mean "irresponsible, unreliable." This argues against the first definition of いい加減. On the other hand, I can't figure out a way to make the third definition of いい加減 fit into the last example sentence above. Therefore, by a process of elimination, I conclude that this sentence must mean something like "to say something moderate."


To sum up, how would one translate the following sentences:

  1. わがままもたいていにしなさい。
  2. 適当なことを言う。

...and how do these translations fit with the definitions of たいてい, 適当, and いい加減 given above?

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  • "To sum up, how would one translate the following sentences: わがままもたいていにしなさい。 適当なことを言う。" - are you sure that this is the main question? These sentences do not include いい加減 at all. Nov 23, 2022 at 1:21
  • @YusukeMatsubara: yes, but I hope that by understanding how these sentences are translated, I hope to gain a better understanding of how the meaning of いい加減 relates to the meanings of たいてい and 適当.
    – kjo
    Nov 23, 2022 at 2:00
  • @YusukeMatsubara: Also, note that that I also wrote "...and how do these translations fit with the definitions of たいてい, 適当, and いい加減 given above?". That's a critical part of my question.
    – kjo
    Nov 23, 2022 at 2:03

1 Answer 1

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Short answer is, 大抵#3 = いい加減#2 and 適当#3 = いい加減#1.

As asked in this question, いい加減#1 and #2 are kind of opposite.

Roughly, the literal meaning of いい加減 is 'good degree' and if it is positively understood as 'within limits', then it means #2 moderate, to an appropriate degree. It can be understood negatively as not going as far as one can or stop randomly or halfway, resulting in #1 irresponsible, unreliable.

適当 has the same ambiguity. Literally it means to the point and appropriate as such, but again it can mean stopping halfway and unreliable.

Now for the sentences,

  1. わがままもたいていにしなさい。

Here 大抵 means いい加減#2. Here も works as limiting the context, so Be moderate in being selfish or don't be too selfish.

  1. 適当なことを言う。

It is 'unreliable' sense of 適当 and いい加減(#1), so 'to say random things'.

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