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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
2
votes
3answers
247 views

X wants for Y to not be Z

I have a translation of a given sentence in English, but the Japanese version seems to use a verb that seems a little different than what would be intended, so I wanted to ask about it here and double-...
2
votes
1answer
92 views

What is the meaning of 横分け眼鏡?

A girl is offending a boy that wears glasses by saying: 気持ち悪いんだよ、横分け眼鏡。 I guess 横分け眼鏡 is a kind of offensive thing referring to his glasses or his eyesight, maybe similar to the English four-eyes, ...
3
votes
2answers
138 views

Meaning of the expression “大きく出る”

I haven't found an explanation for this expression in my dictionary, but from a few bits of info I found online I think it has something to do with "bragging"? Does it have to do with the way someone ...
2
votes
2answers
177 views

Figurative use of 「まどから捨てる」

Yesterday, I answered a question on the Anime SE site about a consistency between Japanese audio and English subtitles. To summarize: From what I could understand of the dialogue, the character in ...
3
votes
1answer
190 views

What does the expression “sour mouth” mean?

The sentence was "オレが口を酸っぱくして教えたよね?" To my understanding, it means "Did I teach you to do it with a sour mouth?" or actually, "Didn't I teach you with a sour mouth?", but I'm not sure what sour mouth ...
3
votes
2answers
280 views

Is there a phrase in Japanese that means “anything under the sun”?

The English idiom "anything under the sun" means, anything at all. For example: We sat and talked about anything under the sun. Is there a Japanese phrase with the same nuance as that? The sentence: ...
0
votes
1answer
112 views

Why is “to attempt” written as 心 + 見る? [duplicate]

Why is こころ + みる the word used to say "to try/attempt"? What is it supposed to be saying as an idiom?
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the origins of the Japanese idiom ななころびやおき (nanakorobiyaoki)?

I have an assignment on this quote but I just can't seem to find any of the origins of the quote. Its' English translation is "Fall down seven times, stand up eight". If anybody could help and let me ...
8
votes
3answers
247 views

Equivalent of 【一人で】for a multi-person group unit

I am trying to translate the English expression "left to their own devices"/"left to themselves"/"in a vacuum" into Japanese, and the best I could come up with would be something involving 「ひとりで」, but ...
0
votes
2answers
145 views

What is the closest equivalent expression to “don't get your panties in a bunch”?

"To get one's panties in a bunch", from Wikitionary: To become overwrought or unnecessarily upset over a trivial matter. [Usually used towards women.] What is the closest Japanese equivalent ...
1
vote
1answer
542 views

How to ask someone in a phone call to pass the phone to someone else?

Example in English: You are on the phone with John, and you know that Mary is in a room with him, you may say "Can you put on Mary, please?". Is there an idiom for this request in Japanese?
2
votes
2answers
81 views

Can 燃える be used with the context of being embarassed?

I was just wondering if 燃える could be used in a context where someone gets embarassed to the point where they "burn up." Would it be taken literally or could it be used as an idiom?
2
votes
1answer
96 views

What does 全中制覇 means?

I came across this phrase but I can't find in the internet what it means. At first I thought 全中制覇 is an idiom but there was no result when I tried searching for it in the net.
3
votes
2answers
285 views

What does 〜うちが花 mean?

And why the flower in the sentence?
3
votes
1answer
86 views

Is this referring to an Idiomatic way to say someone is smiling?

Here's a line from a piece of Japanese fiction: 切れ長の目が、さみしげに細められていた。 I'm wondering if this is simply saying: He narrowed his lonely(?) eyes (? - It's hard to tell without Kanji but I think ...
3
votes
1answer
73 views

Is 相手……全然甘えない… idiomatic?

I've come across the following dialogue in a piece of fiction I was reading today; あの子さ、あたしら相手だとついお母さん役しちゃって、全然甘えないじゃん? I'm not sure if I completely understand what the speaker is saying here, I ...
9
votes
2answers
361 views

Do 気が付く{つく} and 気[付く]{づく} have the same meaning?

If they both mean the same, is が optional?
17
votes
2answers
3k views

Is アリ in そんなのアリかよ⁉︎ some type of slang?

This is a line from a sports manga (soccer), after a rather unusual shoot, but I can't seem to make sense of it: そんなのアリかよ!? I have no idea what the "ari" in here refers to? Is this some slang? Some ...
4
votes
1answer
310 views

Knight in Shining Armor - Idioms

while working on some translations I ran across the phrase: 輝く鎧の騎士. A character was refered to as this. Google tells me it translates to "knight in shining armor". My question is thus: Is that the ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

一人だけ来ました potential interpretations

一人【ひとり】だけ来ました【きました】  is translated as only one person came on page 6-14 of "Learn to Read in Japanese" by Lake and Ura. Could this also be read as "he/she came alone?" or is there a phrase ...
4
votes
1answer
600 views

Japanese idiom for don't let it get to your head?

In the sense of "don't be arrogant".
3
votes
2answers
138 views

幾人も or 一杯? Kanji or hiragana?

I am writing the following sentence: サン・パウロに日本人がいっぱいいるから。。。よかったですね! And I'd like to know if 幾人も could be a more respectful/more natural replacement for 一杯, and whether I should be using kanji.
0
votes
2answers
331 views

Meaning of more Kishi Bashi lyrics: けや けや それや どうせね

Kishi Bashi: "Bright Whites" Transliterating from the ローマ字 lyrics, (so I don't know which kanji is meant): けや けや それや どうせね けや けや それや どうせ だめだ やめられない やめられない どうせ だめだけど やめられない ね and then a ...
4
votes
2answers
113 views

Question about the sentence 私が手伝いましょう。

Im using an Anki deck to study vocabulary. It's translation for the sentence 私が手伝いましょう is "Can I help you?". Im a bit confused, as I see no question marker in that sentence. I would guess it's ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Japanese idiom equivalent to “take with a grain of salt”

Is there a Japanese idiom equivalent to "take with a grain of salt"? In other words, an idiom which means "don't accept this information as completely true or the complete truth".
2
votes
2answers
158 views

Japanese idiom equivalent to “Fat Fingered"

Is there a Japanese idiom equivalent to "fat fingered"? In other words, an idiom which means "to make a mistake when performing a task that requires using ones finger". This is often used in ...
7
votes
2answers
657 views

How to understand 節がある?

According to weblio, 節{ふし}がある is defined as follow: 着眼点としてある。そのようにも思われる。「思い当たるふしがある」や、「県警は当初、事件を隠蔽しようとしていたふしがある」などのように用いられる。 "Interesting" point. Considered to be like this. Used like 「...
3
votes
1answer
118 views

Meaning of the sentence : 「成すべきことを成す」

I came across this sentence in a manga and its meaning is rather obscure to me: 成すべきことを成す。 I tried to translate it as: To do what has to be done. Moreover, it would be great to know if this ...
2
votes
1answer
122 views

I have trouble understanding this: 棚からなんとやらだ

I'm having trouble understanding this sentence from a soccer manga I like to read. There is not much context to the sentence, and further, the character often uses slang. The whole sentence is this: ...
1
vote
1answer
103 views

What does ああまでされて mean in this sentence?

Thanks in advance for your help. I'm reading a manga (full of slang, which makes it so hard!) and I ran across this sentence: (panel 1) 俺だったら素直に喜べたか!? ああまでされて (panel 2) 追い詰められて!? To get you the ...
5
votes
3answers
313 views

“Once upon a time” is to “The End” as “昔々” is to “______”?

(Question A) "Once upon a time" is to "The End" as "昔々" is to "______" ? Here are my thoughts and problems with some possible answers: ザーエンド using ザー as "the". But this seems problematic since I ...
1
vote
1answer
84 views

Meaning of きく耳をもたない

The children are painting. Sekiguchi has just criticised Yamada's picture and run away with it: 関口はあざけるように山田の絵をひらひらさせてきく耳をもたない Sekiguchi made Yamada's picture flap like he was making fun of him ...
6
votes
1answer
647 views

meaning of ここに来て

「ここに来ての出費は痛いが、この状況を挽回するためにも、あの酒に頼らざるを得ん。背に腹は変えられないというが」 What does ここに来て mean in this context? According to a definition I found on the internet ものがある段階でその性質や状態になったことを意味する表現 but, this isn't ...
2
votes
1answer
177 views

そつなく meaning? Idiom or structure?

I came across a sentence recently which uses the word (or "words", I'm unsure) そつなく and was wondering at what exactly it means and how it is used, as I can't find it described as a structure anywhere ...
3
votes
3answers
722 views

Saying or Idiom for 'trying to force a square through a circle'

I'm looking for a saying that explains that A and B aren't better or worse, they are simply different. More specifically, that a Japanese way of doing things isn't better or worse [than a western one],...
1
vote
1answer
119 views

Translation Help? 「産声を上げた」

I'm trying to translate a song as practice and I absolutely cannot figure out what this one line means: 「蝕んだ身体に愛を入れて欲しいと 慣れない産声を上げた」 (It's a bit graphic, and I apologize!) Anyway, I get the ...
3
votes
4answers
270 views

“On a more serious note” equivalent expression in Japanese

At work, I would naturally use the above line as a transition. What equivalent phrases can I use in Japanese? I could come up only with a quite literal translation: 真面目に言うと
7
votes
1answer
837 views

“The eye (crust ?) laughs at the booger”?

What does this phrase mean? 目くそ鼻くそを笑うだよね。 Is it some sort of idiom? Does it have a parallel in English?
5
votes
2answers
508 views

Do Japanese people tend to be vague even when talking about people their listeners know?

I've noticed that a couple of my Japanese friends, when talking about their plans, might say something like 「友達に会う」, "I'm meeting a friend", even though the unnamed "friend" is someone we both know. ...
5
votes
2answers
563 views

Takasugi Shinsaku's quote

I ran across this quote from the famous samurai Takasugi Shinsaku: "動けば雷電の如く、発すれば風雨の如し". My (really) clumsy translation would be something like "If thunder and lightning were to waver, water and wind ...
4
votes
1answer
197 views

Can't understand this idiom, is this slang?

"デカくてトロくて." This is from a manga I'm reading, and here is the whole sentence "デカくてトロくて使いやすいジャンプ台だった." For context purposes, this is a soccer manga and refers to a part where a forward was sure to be ...
2
votes
1answer
284 views

Usage/context of 「私ね…」

Surely the biggest issue here is that I'm trying to learn usage from anime dialogue, which should almost always be taken with the biggest grain of salt possible. But it comes up often enough that it's ...
5
votes
1answer
152 views

魚心あれば水心あり: what does 心 do exactly?

According to JapanDict, this proverb literally means "if a fish is friendly toward water, water will be kind to the fish too" (although Wiktionary says it's the other way around...). Is that really a ...
8
votes
1answer
221 views

What is ~やまさりけん and what part of sentence is it used as?

In the scenes of fight in old stories, I sometimes encountered a phrase ~やまさりけん usually in the compound form: 力やまさりけん 腕やまさりけん What is the exact meaning of the phrase and what part of the ...
2
votes
1answer
125 views

Rain on your parade [closed]

How can I say something like "I hate to rain on your parade, but..." In Japanese? If there is no equivalent then kindly teach me how to say "Sorry to disappoint you, but..." Thanks!!!
11
votes
1answer
175 views

What is the image/feeling/concept behind 面白半分に◯◯する?

In a phrase like: 面白{おもしろ}半分に見る or 面白半分に言う What is the concept behind the 半分 and why is it connected with the verb using に? Is it like "all things have two parts/aspects": serious (真剣半分?) and ...
5
votes
1answer
271 views

Hikaru no Go Manga - dialogue question

So this is a sentence I picked from Hikaru no Go, Vol. 1, that I am reading. どれもこれもパツとしないなあ What does パツ mean in this sentence and how do you usually find those kind words? When I searched on ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

Vocabulary doubts: 「眼の所が少し高くなっているが、[…]一文字に結んでいる。」

I'm having vocabulary difficulties with this story about a frog hibernating in one's backyard: ちらっと見たぐらいでは、おそらく誰も蛙とは気がつかないであろう。わずかに、眼の所が少し高くなっているが、その眼をこれ以上は閉じられないほど、しっかりと一文字に結んでいる。 ― ああ、冬眠なのだ ― ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば?

What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば? How would you translate this?
3
votes
1answer
266 views

How to say “Don't stroke his ego”?

Is there an equivalent of "Don't stroke his ego" in Japanese? I assume that such a phrase would be relevant in Japanese, but I've never heard it. Thanks!