In this anime at second 0:38 the main character is justifying why he accepted a fight. https://animelon.com/video/57a81215b9de7414d1ea082d

In the context of the situation it sounds like he is saying something along the lines of: I was carried by the emotion of the moment. or I didn't think about it back then.

However, all the translations I find on the internet are something along the lines of "tit for tat".

Can you please explain how that fits in this context? Or maybe there is a more nuanced meaning to this?

Also, do you have a nice explanation how "The sold word becomes the bought word" makes the jump to "tit for tat"?

1 Answer 1


The literal meaning of 売り言葉に買い言葉 is "Seller's words and buyer's words" or "Seller's language comes with buyer's language". For the function of this に, see why に can mean "and"?.

This describes the fact that both parties naturally use a strong tone of voice because they want to be equal to each other and avoid losing money. As an idiom, it refers to an attitude such as "If you are provoked, provoke back in the same way" or "Respond to abuse with something equal". Here, he is saying he argued back almost unintentionally on the 売り言葉に買い言葉 basis.

  • "If you are provoked, provoke back in the same way" 「やられたらやり返す。倍返しだ!」なんかこれを思い出すwww
    – dvx2718
    Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 18:25

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