Questions tagged [idioms]

慣用句・ことわざ. Phrases with fixed words used as a single unit, typically with a meaning beyond what is obvious from its constituent parts.

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Understanding 軍服に着られた

威嚇のつもりかアサルトライフルを抱えた兵を二人も従えて、いかにも軍服に着られた貧相な士官が顎をしゃくる。どうでもいいが、後ろの兵のライフルは安全装置がかかったままで、しかも初弾が装塡されていない。それぞれの立ち位置も近すぎるから、やろうと思えば撃たせる前に全員制圧できる。意味がないのでやらないが。 86─エイティシックス─ 安里アサト Why is the bold part passive ...
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Does 〜ようにする mean both 'make sure' and 'try'? (Grammar reference clarification)

On pg554 of Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, it says that [sic] 〜ようにする (to try to ~) is an idiomatic use of 〜ように (so that ~). However, pg562 gives the meaning 〜ようにする (to make sure that ~). It ...
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What is the proper way to say "beating egg whites"? [closed]

I want to say "beating egg whites" (video for reference). How do you say that in Japanese ?
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2 votes
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Is there a similar expression as "elbow grease" in Japanese?

The idiom elbow grease, and in French "huile de coude" means that the only thing that is required is putting some manual efforts into an action (scrubbing, washing, mixing...). The term ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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What does 土を付ける mean?

The context is 無配の女王にまで土を付ける the translation is "he managed to defeat the undefeated queen" My question is if 土を付ける can be used to mean defeat? My guess is it has something to do with ...
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て Ending, Short Phrase, and Possibly Fake Saying

In this anime clip: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4iN2N8KgAw4 Gabriel uses poor Japanese to convey that Japanese is difficult and mentions a saying. As for the first sentence, what is the purpose of ...
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4 votes
2 answers
153 views

諺/熟語 for "paint oneself into a corner"

I am trying to find an idiom that describes someone setting hurdles for themself or putting themself in a more difficult position every step of the way, eventually trapping oneself or forcing one's ...
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2 votes
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諺(ことわざ): Get rid of your sickness by giving it to someone else?

A long time ago in Japanese school I was told there is a old Japanese saying/諺 that meant "You can get rid of your cold by giving it to someone else." Does anyone know what that 諺 is?
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6 votes
1 answer
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Japanese equivalent for 'black ice'

I was wondering if there is a Japanese equivalent for the term 'black ice'. I googled image searched ブラックアイス , but the overwhelming majority of the results were unrelated. Or would you say 道の上の見えない氷?
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3 votes
2 answers
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向こうも向こうで What does this mean in this context ? (mukou mo mukou de) Is this some kind of Japanese Idiom?

Context: MC talking with 2 girls in his team. The detective (who was helping MC to clear his name from the false accusation of police and find out who is the real murderer) has left the crime ...
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3 votes
1 answer
247 views

Is there a ことわざ similar to "water under the bridge" and "let bygones be bygones"?

Earlier today in a comment I tried to explain to a community member that they should put whatever happened in the past behind them. I used "water behind the bridge" and "let bygones be ...
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7 votes
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Understanding the も in 見るも

その日。彼女のもとに、招かれざる客が現れた。 見るも巨大な鉄の塊。長い手足の歪な人型。 そんな異形共が、彼女の領域を侵したのである。 What would be the function of the bold も?
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3 votes
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御輿の上のあれなんだろう. Is this an idiom, perhaps?

there is a line from a soccer manga that I don't understand. I get what it means, literally, but it's so randomly placed that I wonder if this is an idiom or if I might be missing some context or ...
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0 votes
1 answer
132 views

How would a butler/servant refer to his princess?

I'm looking to translate a catch-phrase into Japanese. It would belong to a servant/butler character, when he confirms a order, or announces his arrival, etc. Basically "My Queen" / "My ...
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4 votes
1 answer
573 views

idiom along the lines of "you get more relatives as you get famous"

Overheard something that sounds like "うれるど親戚 {しんせき} かくれる"(must be mistakes somewhere since there's no search result for the phrase). Kind of a sarcastic/joking idiom, saying that as a person ...
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2 votes
1 answer
608 views

「遊び倒す」の意味は、「飲み倒す」や「食べ倒す」と全然違いますか?

辞書で「遊び倒す」がこういう意味で記述されていました。 それ以上ないくらい遊びつくすこと、あるいは徹底的に遊ぶことを意味する表現。 XX倒す は「徹底的にXXこと」ということだと思っていました。 しかし、「食べ倒す」と「飲み倒す」の意味は全然違います。 この二つの意味は「店の代金を払わないこと」です。 それなら「徹底的に食べ/飲みこと」はどうやって表現するのですか? https://...
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2 votes
2 answers
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What's a natural way to say "If I can do it so can you!"?

I would translate it as わたしが出来るとあなたも出来るよ! Could someone help explain what a more natural translation would be, or even better if there's a saying or a common idiom to express the same idea? P.s. ...
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What would be a natural way to say "to milk it for all it's worth"?

As an example, A is making a speech: "..yes, you can simulate a hurricane in a computer but does the computer really feel wetness?" Me: "Wow, going forward I am going to milk this analogy ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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In what contexts can 旗色が悪い be used?

According to コトバンク, 旗色が悪い can be used when there is some connotation of a battle, war or fight - which makes sense because it literally translates to something like the color of the national flag is ...
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1つの嘘から始まった連鎖は meaning

1つの嘘から始まった連鎖は留まることを知らない。 I think the above sentence is an idiom. I'm just guessing that the meaning is (roughly): Once we began to tell a lie, we will try to cover our lie with more lies. 留まることを知らない ...
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2 votes
1 answer
269 views

What is the difference between 音をさせる and 音がする and 音を出す/立てる?

と、士道がそんなことを思っていると、令音がおもむろに手を背中にやってパチン、という音をさせたのち、手を服の中に入れて何やらもぞもぞと蠢き、首元からブラジャーを抜き取った。 Hi. Could you please explain the difference between 音をさせる and 音がする and 音を出す/立てる? All of them seem to mean the ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Japanese term for “cookie cutter”

I’m looking for a term in Japanese that conveys the same sense of repeated design with minimal or limited variation that is implied by the English phrase “cookie cutter”. My particular interest is in ...
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1 answer
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Is there an idiom equivalent to / similar to "gut feeling"?

Is there an expression or metaphor similar to "gut feeling", as a metaphor for one's intuition or instinctive feeling about something?
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3 votes
1 answer
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Meaning of 「どどめ色」

I came across this sentence: 「あんた ホントに どどめ色の青春を過ごしてるわね」 The context is that the addressee wanted to show the speaker a new move he learned by watching the same video over and over again. ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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What is the etymology of the phrase 隴を得て蜀を望む?

I just came across this phrase, which is listed in the dictionary as: never being satisfied with what one gets, and always wanting more; giving someone an inch and having them take a mile; taking ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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鋭い牙が meaning in human nature

落ち着いて見えても、鋭い牙が内包されていることに変わりはない。 It was a sentence in a light novel (ようこそ実力至上主義の教室へ) that I've been reading, and I have an impression that it should be some kind of idiomatic words. 鋭い (from Jisho....
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4 votes
2 answers
367 views

Japanese idiom for "don’t get your meat where you get your bread"?

There is an idiomatic expression in Portuguese: Onde se ganha o pão não se come a carne Literally, it would translate to "where one earns their bread one does not eat the meat" and it relates to a ...
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2 votes
1 answer
195 views

Last Minute + Studying/Questions etc

In English "last minute" is a pretty common phrase, but I am having a hard time finding a parallel in Japanese. I want to say things like Any last minute questions? I am doing some last minute ...
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0 votes
1 answer
154 views

How may I express concern without asking if the person is 'OK' but wanting them to be 'OK'?

How may I express concern without asking if the person is 'OK' but wanting them to be 'OK'? It's not obvious how to do so in English. In English you might say something like "get well soon", but that'...
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7 votes
1 answer
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What is the term for the English idiom of "with high stakes"?

In English there is the idiomatic expression "with high stakes." There is also the adjective high-stakes, which means involving serious risks if there is no success. Is there a similar idiom in ...
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-2 votes
2 answers
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How would I say "This place is Heaven on Earth"?

How would I say "This place is Heaven on Earth"? Would このところは地球上の天国です。 be correct?
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4 votes
2 answers
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What does 鴨が葱を背負って来る mean?

I checked the meaning of Farfetch'd on Bulbapedia and it says it is "カモネギ", likely to be inspired by "鴨が葱を背負って来る", meaning "something surprising, but convenient". What does "surprising but ...
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2 votes
2 answers
365 views

What is the meaning of 山は越えたよ?

The sentence given with its translation is: I'm out of the woods. 山 は 越えた よ。 When I looked up the word "越えた", it was only matched with "越える" instead. I think the meaning is ...
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2 answers
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Is there a Japanese word for the game "horseshoes?"

I'm guessing this will come across as two questions, but their interrelation is important... Is there a specific word for the game where you toss a horseshoe at a peg (in English just called ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What is the correct parsing of お高くとまる?

I had always thought that the phrase お高くとまる consisted of the adverbial お高く combined with the verb とまる. I never actually paid much attention to the literal meaning since it is obviously a figurative ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Not seeing is a flower?

Can anyone explain what does this idiom means ? I read the English translation and googled it but I still don’t know what it really means and what does flower refer to . 見ぬが花 “Not seeing is a ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Jibun dake baka o miru meaning?

I saw it on a prep book and there says the meaning is to waste time and money, but I don't understand how.
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2 votes
1 answer
99 views

What does 意識が遠くなる mean?

I ran into this japanese medical site. http://www.kojinkai.or.jp/msc/outpatient-selfcheck18.html The title "意識が遠くなる" stumps me. Best I can guess is "Consciousness is fading." Is that right? "...
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3 votes
2 answers
603 views

About using おかげさまで as a standalone

I've been doing some research on おかげさまで and, not content with just memorising sayings, am wondering why おかげさまで is used as a standalone/response. Does it mean 'thanks to you', 'thanks to God and ...
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3 votes
1 answer
147 views

In the clause われこそはと心驕りしていられる方々からは, ... what does the と mean?

I read this clause as something like "I myself surely, and all of those whose hearts were being made indignant, (...)" However, I'm not confident this is correct, mainly because I'm not sure what the ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Difference between 七転び八起き and 七転八起

I really need someones help and PRONTO!! So I have finally decided my next Japanese Kanji tattoo! :) BUT I got one problem when I was doing some research on "Fall down seven times, stand up eight." I ...
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6 votes
3 answers
236 views

鶴の一声 -- Origin and context?

So, I understand what the idiom actually means, roughly -- "the final word," "the word from on high." But where does it come from? Is there a story or a history that gives it context?
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1 vote
1 answer
216 views

Understanding 絵に描いたように

そんな絵に描いたように満ち足りたダーズリー家にも、たった一つ秘密があった。 In the Dursley family, who were the very picture of contentment, there was just one secret. My translation of そんな絵に描いたように満ち足りた is purely a guess based on Jisho'...
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8 votes
3 answers
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What does 今日という日 mean?

I'm trying to translate a song lyric that says 今日という日は 過去 前例のない 僕たちの誓い日和だよ And I get a dictionary result at Jisho for 今日という日 as something like every day; all day but that doesn't make any sense ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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「守りが甘い[上手]{うわて}」…どういう意味ですか?

守りが甘い上手【うわて】と打つとやられるぞ "If you play this stronger player for whom 'protection is sweet' you will be done for." is my best attempt to understand. The context in which this happens is the teacher of ...
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6 votes
1 answer
189 views

Is あわやと思った an idiom? What is the meaning of あわや?

I've come across this sentence あわやと思ったその時 and I have looked around without success for a translation for あわや. Tangorin simply says it's an adverb meaning 'almost on the verge of happening', but ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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尻馬に乗る Have I understood this idiom correctly?

So I am struggling with this sentence, and was wondering if I have interpreted the idiom correctly? I have found that 尻馬に乗る means 'to follow suit', 'to follow the lead of others' or 'A fool laughs ...
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8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Japanese idiom equivalent to "that ship has sailed"

What is the closest expression in Japanese that conveys a similar meaning to the English idiom "that ship has sailed", referring to an "missed opportunity" and "it's too late (to do anything about it)"...
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3 votes
3 answers
137 views

一線を画する ambiguity

This passage comes from Underground by Haruki Murakami: 年長者であり医師であり、科学技術省の「武闘派」とは一線を画している林が敢えて実行者として選ばれた理由は不明だが... The translation by Alfred Birnbaum is Why Hayashi - a senior medical doctor ...
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1 vote
1 answer
652 views

Meaning of ツッコミどころ多すぎ?

I've come across the phrase: ツッコミどころ多すぎ In a book where the character was for a second time expressing annoyance at his colleague's reckless actions. But I'm unsure of it's meaning since it ...
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