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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3
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1answer
267 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!
14
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2answers
1k views

Which part of speech is the 「ぞ」 in 「神のみぞ知るセカイ」?

「神{かみ}のみぞ知{し}るセカイ」 is the title of a manga/anime series but I'm not asking about the anime. I'm just curious about the 「ぞ」 part in the title. I know there is a ぞ particle that is similar to よ, such ...
7
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1answer
143 views

Is 立つ in 顔が立つ is always imperfective? If so why?

I understand that the word 立つ has various meanings, but basically can be used to describe a state (for inanimate and animate objects) as well as a process (for animate objects). To describe a state ...
11
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2answers
762 views

Japanese equivalent of the phrase “wrapped around your finger”?

The English phrase "wrapped around your finger" usually means that a male is so fond of a girl that she can get him to do almost anything she wants, or to give her whatever she wants. In my case, it ...
5
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2answers
593 views

~あらんことを: Slight Variations and Idiomatic Degree

Consider 神のご加護があらんことを How is あらんことを different from あろうことを ? (c.f. archaic -an conjugation) Apart from sounding archaic, are there other functional differences? How is {あらん・あろう}ことを different from ...
1
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1answer
105 views

Can the phrase 不条理劇 “a theatre of absurd” be used figuratively in Japanese?

Would it be valid in casual Japanese conversation to use the term 不条理劇{ふじょうりげき} or 不条理演劇{ふじょうりえんげき} to describe a situation in which for example two parties A and B are talking to each other using ...
5
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1answer
277 views

Is “背中に嫌な汗を掻いた” an idiomatic phrase?

Okay I read a light novel and found a phrase that seems nonsensical to me. The sentence is: "私を見ながら背中に嫌な汗を掻いた。" The context is that a character in the story just realize something about the Main ...
5
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1answer
2k views

Is there a Japanese equivalent to the phrase, “when in Rome”?

Is there a Japanese equivalent to the phrase, "when in Rome"?
12
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3answers
11k views

When/why did 電話する replace 電話をかける?

In some older learning material I came across, they use 「電話をかける」 for "to make a telephone call". When/why did this come to be replaced by 「電話する」 in popular usage?
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4answers
1k views

“over in the blink of an eye”?

What is the idiom "in the blink of an eye" in Japanese? I want to use it to say that two years will be over in the blink of an eye or "before you even notice". (For a detailed discussion and ...
2
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1answer
296 views

Meaning of 根づいていた / 根づく

In the opening to the popular anime Fairy tale, they say this: 魔法は 普通に売り買いされ 人々の生活に根づいていた。 This is translated in the subtitles as: Magic is traded like common goods. It has become a part of ...
1
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1answer
126 views

Is 長生きはするもんな a set phrase?

Is 長生きはするもんだな a set phrase meaning "you live and learn"?
5
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2answers
235 views

根も葉も火種も — is it proverbial?

I suspect「根も葉も火種も」 is an allusion to something I do not recognize. To what does it refer? Consider this couplet from an amusing song released in March by IOSYS called 「ステマの女」(CD and promotional ...
2
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1answer
180 views

A japanese saying “一をいうと十返ってくる”

I'm currently trying to read a japanese novel and I found this expression : 一をいうと十返ってくる It was meant to qualify a character, but I just don't get it. At first I thought it could mean "tell one ...
4
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2answers
1k views

“Something came up” in Japanese

I always use this in English to excuse myself from a planned meeting/meet up (professional or personal). Basically, I don't want to bother the interlocutor with the details and notify them I am busy. ...
3
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2answers
206 views

Does 児戯 have the same idiomatic value in Japanese as “child's play” does in English?

In English, "child's play" can literally mean "play performed by a child" or it can be used as an idiom to refer to "something easy". I see that Japanese 児戯 can also mean 子供の遊び (児の戯れ, I guess?) - ...
10
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1answer
934 views

Meaning and usage of ~としたことが

I came across the expression ~としたことが, for example: 私としたことが I'm trying to figure out the meaning and usage of this phrase, but I can't find any English resources that explain it. What does this ...
5
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1answer
958 views

How would you use どうもこうもない?

Found two example translations, one is "there is no alternative", the other is "sorry, it was awful". What is the scope of situations where it can be used? Is there a way to translate its nuance into ...
2
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2answers
106 views

貰{もら}える物は貰っておく (idiom?) meaning

How should the 貰っておく part be interpreted? What (I) can receive, I ... (?).
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1answer
641 views

Meaning of “頭に付く”?

I'm reading through a book about learning Mandarin written in Japanese. There's a section describing the basics of initials (声母【せいぼ】) and finals (韻母【いんぼ】) in Chinese syllables with the following ...
4
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1answer
279 views

“Automatic Doors Don't Open For Him”

I remember hearing this idiom which meant someone was so lowly, they were not even considered a person. I don't know the source, but remember it was referred to as a 'common Japanese idiom'. ...
3
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1answer
2k views

Meaning of “gkbrです”

I have noticed the usage of gkbrです in sentences not related to the G insect: 田中さんに掘り返されたことでgkbrです。 恐怖でgkbrですが続きテツヤ待機。 Does it mean "I am afraid and want to crawl under the furniture"?
3
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1answer
625 views

Twitter idioms: Why do some Japanese have an “@” in the middle of their “names” (not usernames)?

I've noticed that some Japanese Twitter users put words/short sentences separated by an "@" symbol in the "name" field. A common one I've noticed is "abc123@LINEスタンプ販売中," which seems to imply they're ...
4
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1answer
140 views

Meaning of 家族ポイントを消費

What is the meaning of 家族ポイント and 家族ポイントを消費? Examples: 家族ポイントを消費して行くオプションもありましたが、年の初めから無理をすることもなかろうと看病モード。 かなりの家族ポイントを消費しつつ、札幌歴史ゲーム友の会の例会に久々に参加しました。 家庭にオーブン付レンジをお持ちのお父さん、...
2
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1answer
354 views

おきばりになさって! with the meaning of 頑張れ!

I was discussing with my Japanese colleagues about expressions peculiar to contemporary bourgeoisie. One expression I already knew was ご機嫌よう!, meaning またね!. My question is about another one: ...
4
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1answer
100 views

Meaning of タッグでやる

According to Wikipedia, a tag team is a two-person team of which only one person plays at a time. Speaking of a long-length work project, 小林 says: 田中とタッグでやる。 Is there any nuance difference with ...
2
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2answers
268 views

“Year of the X” - is there an idiom?

So, if we were talking about "this is the Year of the Dog", I think the correct rendering of that in Japanese would be 戌年, with the reading いぬどし. But does that extend outside of the astrological sense?...
4
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1answer
212 views

ムダ足だった == useless leg?

When I look up the phrase 無駄足だった, I see it translated as "It was a Wild goose chase." I found this bizarre, since it seems like it would mean "It was a useless foot/leg." is this some sort of figure ...
8
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1answer
875 views

Meaning of ~と言われればそれまでだが、…

I have found this sentence: 好みの問題と言われればそれまでだが、私はこの店の内装はなんとなく好きになれない。 To my poor understanding it sounds similar to: 好みの問題と言われても、私はこの店の内装はなんとなく好きになれない。 If it is completely different and I ...
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2answers
317 views

Can [面倒]{めんどう} be used as “boring”?

I've just heard many times [面倒]{めんどう} in anime, in translation is not troublesome but boring. Is it usual? Which is more appropriate? Example: 面倒な仕事です。
4
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2answers
3k views

How do you say “after all”, in the sense of reaffirming or justifying a previous statement?

For example: "You should wear a jacket. After all, it's snowing out there." "Of course I bought you a present! It's our anniversary after all." I tried an online dictionary but they gave me a lot of ...
8
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1answer
290 views

Does 換骨奪胎 have negative connotation?

In the book ロボット学論集 by 瀬名 秀明, I saw this sentence (not exact since I'm solely depending on my memory) 2004 年公開の映画 "I, Robot" は,Isaac Asimov の同名の小説を換骨奪胎した別物である. I looked at several online ...
2
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1answer
392 views

What does 馬鹿も一芸 mean in English? [closed]

I'm wondering how 馬鹿も一芸 should be translated into English. EDICT-based dictionary sites list this phrase with the following translation: 馬鹿も一芸 even a fool has a talent Is this translation ...
4
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1answer
949 views

Meaning of あさっての方向 “Asatte no houkou”

I just heard something like: この話があさっての方向に向かっています Kono hanashi ga asatte no houkou ni mukatteimasu It was used when one of conversation partners said something off topic or loosely tied to it. ...
11
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2answers
4k views

Ways to end a phone conversation

Despite its being one of the most basic element of daily-life Japanese, I often find myself looking for a proper way to end certain phone conversations. Of course, I know the standard: [それでは]失礼します, ...
6
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3answers
2k views

How to say “all in all”

I have been many times blocked in a conversation because I have no way to translate "all in all" in those general contexts: All in all it takes 15 minutes to get there All in all this movie was quite ...
5
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1answer
1k views

When to use 出て来る over 出る

Here is a sentence from the children's story ももたろう, describing when the child appears from within the giant peach. 桃の中から赤ちゃんが出てきました。 My dictionary lists 出て来る as meaning "to come out" with a note ...
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1answer
147 views

Opposite of 歯止め?

According to WWWJDIC, 歯止め is used as follows: 歯止めをかける; 歯止めを掛ける (exp,v1) to curb; to halt; to apply brakes; to put an end to The English translations have a pretty good correspondence with the ...
3
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1answer
460 views

What is a good idiom for 'not being invested'?

In English there are a few idioms that are variants on the phrase, I don't really have a horse in this race, so... which essentially means "I'm not invested in the outcome of the current debate/...
7
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1answer
8k views

Taking Class, Course, Lecture - Which verb is fit?

I would like to know how we say taking class or course or lecture in japanese. I have heard about 「クラスを受ける」 and 「クラスを取る」. Are there significant difference? And Is there any other verb we can use ...
9
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2answers
3k views

Is there a Japanese phrase equivalent to the English phrase: “Guilty Pleasure”?

I am at a loss of words to describing to my host family why I sometimes listen to "bad" or embarrassing music. Is there a japanese phrase that can help me tell them it's a "guilty pleasure" of mine?
4
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1answer
203 views

Question on the idiom 頭が回転しない

I found the following dialogue on lang-8: A: 駄目だ、飲み過ぎて頭が回転しない。 B: 仕事、明日にしたら? A: Oh no, I drank too much so I can't concentrate on it. B: Why not do your work tomorrow? So does 頭が回転する mean ...
1
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2answers
335 views

心は出血している - what exactly the Japanese idiom for it?

is there the same expression in Japanese for good russian idiom 'Сердце кровью обливается'? 「心は出血している」? 'My heart is bleeding' is not very accurate, not really verbatim. This idiom in Russian ...
4
votes
1answer
408 views

What does “だがたまには下も見るもんだぜ” mean?

There is a suggestively conversation between two men who are fighting each other. A is claimed to be strongest wizard and B is nearly strong as A. Here is the conversation, A:世の中上には上がおる B: それはよく知ってる....
5
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1answer
141 views

Is ネコでも分かる・サルでも分かる idiomatic?

I heard the expression ネコでも分かる... mentioned in a TV drama as title for a (fictional) book, in the sense of "...for dummies". A quick search on Amazon brings up a few (real) titles ネコでも分かる... or ...
2
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2answers
2k views

How to playfully scold someone?

I haven't heard from a good friend for a while, I would like to reproach him playfully, but have no clue what the appropriate thing to say would be. Would 恥を知れ! be appropriate if said in a funny tone,...
1
vote
1answer
736 views

At what level should we be able to understand Yojijukugo?

In my experience, Chinese language learners are introduced to these 4-character phrases at an early stage (around Chinese 3 in my high school); what I want to know is there a certain aptitude level ...
4
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2answers
291 views

Is there an idiomatic meaning for 口の中?

I read this phrase in a book: ・・・・[彼]は口の中でうなった。 I'm guessing the うなった is 唸った, or groan, but I'm curious as to if 口の中 has a meaning or implication other than the obvious, inside his mouth. How does ...
14
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2answers
509 views

What is the meaning and root of 意味くじピーマン?

Recently a friend of mine threw the term 意味くじピーマン (imi kuji pi-man) into a story she was telling, and it totally threw me off. At first I thought, because I wasn't sure how to parse the くじ part, it ...
5
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1answer
235 views

The thin line? What is 線がうすい's meaning and etymology?

I just found this phrase in my book (I don't know how much context is relevant, this is the entire sentence): それにな、わたしが商人の線がうすい、といった理由はもうひとつある。 I looked up the phrase and found this 線が細い. It means ...