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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.



ぴかぴか
[ぴかぴか, pika pika] sparkling, glistening, shining

ぴかぴか十八歳
[ぴかぴかじゅうはっさい, pika-pika juuhassai] sweet 16 (lit.: shining 18; used only for girls)

ぴかぴかする
[ぴかぴかする, pika pika suru] twinkle; sparkle

光を当てる
[ひかりをあてる, hikari o ateru] shed light on; cast light on

引きこもり
[ひきこもり, hikikomori] withdrawal into oneself

膝栗毛
[ひざくりげ, hiza kurige] hike, walking trip

久々
[ひさびさ, hisabisa] it's been a while; long time, no see

膝を進める
[ひざをすすめる, hiza o susumeru] come nearer; draw closer

膝を交えて語る
[ひざをまじえてかたる, hiza o majiete kataru] have a heart-to-heart talk

美人と言うも皮一枚
[びじんというもかわいちまい, bijin to iu mo kawa ichimai] beauty is but skin deep

左団扇で暮らす
[ひだりうちわでくらす, hidari-uchiwa de kurasu] live well; live the good life

一足早い
[ひとあしはやい, hito-ashi-hayai] early, beforehand

一息つく
[ひといきつく, hito-iki-tsuku] take a breath of relief

ひどい目に合う
[ひどいめにあう, hidoi me ni au] have a horrible experience; go through the mill

人並みの
[ひとなみの, hitonami no] normal, standard, typical

ひねりがない
[ひねりがない, hineri ga nai] not very clever

響きがいい
[ひびきがいい, hibiki ga ii] sounds good; a nice ring

暇を出す
[ひまをだす, hima o dasu] send away; fire

百万手を使う
[ひゃくまんてをつかう, hyakuman te o tsukau] try everything

ピントくる
[ぴんとくる, pinto kuru] get a feel for

ピント外れ
[ぴんとはずれ, pinto hazure] spacey; out of focus; slightly senile


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