Some common Japanese idioms

Some common Japanese idioms

Hello everyone, in this post, Learn Japanese online will introduce to you the lesson : Some common Japanese idioms.

Some common Japanese idioms

1. Japanese idiom 船を漕ぐ

How to read : fune o kogu (to row a boat)

Japanese meaning : 居眠りをすること

It means to have a nap or to doze off for a while in a certain event. This idiom often indicates ridicule 😀

Example : 結婚式(けっこんしき)の最中(さいちゅう)におじいちゃんが船(ふね)を漕い(こい)でいた
Meaning : During my wedding, my grandfather dozed off.

2. Japanese idiom 一石を投じる

How to read: isseki o toujiru

Japanese meaning : 問題を投げかけ議論を呼び起こすこと

It means that an incident has created a stir, raised a question.

Example : 彼(かれ)の論文(ろんぶん)が、経済界(けいざいかい)に一石(いっせき)を投じ(とうじ)た
Meaning : His essay has caused a controversy regarding the world economy.

3. Japanese idiom 油を売る

How to read: abura o uru

Japanese meaning : 無駄話をして仕事などを怠けること

It refers to the laziness, not working but gossiping and wasting time.

Example : いつまで油(あぶら)を売っ(うっ)てるんだい!
Meaning : How long are you going to gossip? Back to work!

4. Japanese idiom 鶴の一声

How to read : tsuru no hitokoe

Japanese meaning : 有力者や権威者のひと言

It refers to the words of a powerful or influential person.

Example : 社長(しゃちょう)の鶴(つる)の一声(ひとこえ)で、決行(けっこう)が決まっ(きまっ)た
Meaning : Because those were the manager’s words, I am determined to do it.

5. Japanese idiom 折り紙付き

How to read: origami tsuki

Japanese meaning : 間違いないと保証できること

It refers to things that can be guaranteed with certainty.

Example : 彼(かれ)の才能(さいのう)は折り紙付き(おりがみつき)だ
Meaning : His talent is unquestionable.

6. Japanese idiom 諸刃の剣

How to read: moroha no tsurugi

Japanese meaning : 非常に役に立つ反面、多大な危険性をも併せもつこと

It refers to duality of things, people. Along with good things are dangerous things.

Example : この薬(くすり)は効果(こうか)が高い(たかい)が、諸刃(もろは)の剣(けん)でもある
Meaning : The effect of this medicine is very strong but it is also a double-edged sword (The side effects of this medicine is also strong).

7. Japanese idiom 飼い犬に手を噛まれる

Japanese idiom 飼い犬に手を噛まれる 

Meaning :

  – Literal meaning : My hand is bitten by my dog.  飼い kai : to keep (a pet or other animal). 犬 inu : dog. 手 te : hand. 噛まれる kamareru : to be bitten

  – Figurative meaning : 


Being betrayed or harmed unexpectedly by someone who we love and take care of everyday.

Similar sentence : 

飼い犬に手を食われる(かいいぬにてをくわれる): My hand is eaten by my dog

Example :


He whom we have helped since he was young takes over our company unexpectedly. This is like our hands are bitten by our dog.

Above is : Some common Japanese idioms. Learn other Japanese idioms at category : Japanese idioms

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