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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.



公園デビュー
[こうえんでびゅー, kouen debyuu] debut of a mother and child in the neighborhood park where they live; success in this debut is vital to the success of her child

口数は少ない
こうすうはすくない, kousuu wa sukunai] few words

口中調味
[こうちゅうちょうみ, kouchuu choumi] adding flavors together in one’s mouth while eating

荒唐無稽
[こうとうむけい, koutou mukei] nonsensical, absurd, foolish

ご苦労様でした
[ごくろうさまでした, gokurou-sama deshita] thank you for working hard

ここだけの話
[ここだけのはなし, koko dake no hanashi] between you and me; just between us

心当たり
[こころあたり, kokoro Atari] idea, notion

心大きい
[こころおおきい, kokoro ookii] generous, liberal

心がはずむ
[こころがはずむ, kokoro ga hazumu] feel excited; feel elated

心頼み
[こころだのみ, kokoro-danomi] dependence, reliance, hope

心遣い
[こころづかい, kokoro-zukai] anxiety, worry

心づけ
[こころづけ, kokoro-zuke] a tip, gratuity

心にかかる
[こころにかかる, kokoro ni kakaru] be anxious about

心細い
[こころぼそい, kokoro-bosoi] discouraging, helpless

心を入れ換える
[こころをいれかえる, kokoro o irekaeru] turn over a new leaf

心を奪う
[こころをうばう, kokoro o ubau] charm; captivate

古今東西
[ここんとうざい, kokon tousai] everywhere at all times

ご自愛ください
[ごじあいください, go-jiai kudasai] take care, be well, regards

腰が強い
[こしがつよい, koshi ga tsuyoi] be firm; be brave

腰が弱い
[こしがよわい, koshi ga yowai] be cowardly; be weak-kneed

五時から男
[ごじからおとこ, goji kara otoko] young men who do little work during the day but enjoy the night life greatly (lit.: after-five man)

五時から女
[ごじからおんな, goji kara onna] young women who do little work during the day but enjoy the night life greatly (lit.: after-five woman)

腰軽女
[こしがるおんな, koshigaruonna] loose woman
(n.b.: an old expression, no longer used much refer to a woman who is sexually loose or easy)

腰抜き
[こしぬき, koshi-nuki] coward; spineless

腰抜け
[こしぬけ, koshi-nuke] coward

個食化
[こしょくか, koshokuka] eating alone

腰を下ろす
[こしをおろす, koshi o orosu] sit down; sit

腰を掛ける
[こしをかける, koshi o kakeru] sit; take a seat

腰を下げる
[こしをさげる, koshi o sageru] condescend

腰を使う
[こしをつかう, koshi o tsukau] sex; sexual intercourse; fucking (lit.: use one’s hips)

こだわりが強い
[こだわりがつよい, kodawari ga tsuyoi] be a stickler for

ゴマをする
[ごまをする, goma o suru] suck up

言語道断
[ごんごどうだん, gongo doudan] outrageous, scandalous, execrable


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