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Japanese Idioms





The Japanese language is filled with idioms of all sorts, from classical references from ancient Chinese to modern colloquialisms used by college students and young salaryman. Whether you are traveling to Japan for fun or on business, or are living there, you'll find idioms indispensible to understanding and using the daily language. Browse below to find the ones you want or simply explore the many possible ways to express yourself in Japanese.



血あり涙ある
[ちありなみだある, chi ari namida aru] sympathetic; considerate

力こぶを入れる
[ちからこぶをいれる, chikara kobu o ireru] take great interest in; show enthusiasm for

力になる
[ちからになる, chikara ni naru] help; assist

力を入れる
[ちからをいれる, chikara o ireru] strain; put strength into; put effort into

竹馬の友
[ちくばのとも, chikuba no tomo] a childhood friend; a lifelong friend (n.b.: chikuba a toy stilts for children)

千鳥足
[ちどりあし, chidori-ashi] drunkenly

千鳥足で歩く
[ちどりあしであるく, chidori-ashi de aruku] walk like a plover

血の出るような金
[ちのでるようなかね, chi no deru you na kane] blood money, money raised by desperate means

血のめぐりが悪い
[ちのめぐりがわるい, chi no meguri ga warui] slow-witted, dull

血も涙もない
[ちもなみだもない, chi mo namida mo nai] cold-blooded, heartless, inconsiderate

忠言耳に逆らう
[ちゅうげんみみにさからう, chuugen mimi ni sakrau] honest advice is unpleasant

中途半端
[ちゅうとはんぱ, chuuto hanpa] half-baked, half-cocked

中年太り
[ちゅうねんぶとり, chuunen-butori] middle-aged spread

調子に乗る
[ちょうしにのる, choushi ni noru] get carried away [with]; be elated; be excited

調子のりすぎる
[ちょうしのりすぎる, choushi ni norisugiru] get carried away

提灯持ち
[ちょうちんもち, chouchin mochi] flatterer; brown-noser

沈黙は金なり
[ちんもくはきんなり, chinmoku wa kin nari] silence is golden


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