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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.



ぐずぐずする
[ぐずぐずする, guzu-guzu suru] dilly-dally; be slow and wishy-washy

口入れ
[くちいれ, kuchi-ire
recommendation, aegeis

口裏を合わせる
[くちうらをあわせる, kuchi-ura o awaseru] make sure stories agree; get stories straight

口が開く
[くちがあく, kuchi ga aku] there is an opening, a vacant position

口がうるさい
[くちがうるさい, kuchi ga urusai] say something that should not have been said

口が多い
[くちがおおい, kuchi ga ooi] good talker

口が重い
[くちがおもい, kuchi ga omoi] talk little; talk reluctantly

口が軽い
[くちがかるい, kuchi ga karui] speak without thinking

口が少ない
[くちがすくない, kuchi ga sukunai] poor talker

口堅い
[くちがたい, kuchi-gatai] discreet person

口から生まれた
[くちからうまれた, kuchi kara umareta] be a chatterbox

口が悪い
[くちがわるい, kuchi ga warui] have a sharp tongue

口々に
[くちぐちに, kuchi-guchi ni] here and there; severally, mutually

口車
[くちぐるま, kuchi-guruma] wheedling, cajoling

口車に乗せる
[くちぐるまにのせる, kuchi-guruma ni noseru] wheedle; coax; take someone in by talking

口先人間
[くちさきにんげん, kuchisaki ningen] someone who is all talk and no do (lit.: mouth-front person)

口過ぎ
[くちすぎ, kuchi-sugi] livelihood

口出し
[くちだし, kuchi-dashi] obtruding remarks, interference

口止め
[くちどめ, kuchi-dome] muzzling; bribing into secrecy

口止め金
[くちどめきん, kuchi-dome-kin] hush money, bribe

口に合う
[くちにあう, kuchi ni au] suit one’s tastes

口に涎
[くちによだれ, kuchi ni yodare]
drool over/at something (in the sexual sense, the sense of deliciousness, or the idea of anxiety)

唇の薄い
[くちびるのうすい, kuchibiru no usui] talkative, glib

唇をかえす
[くちびるをかえす, kuchibiru o kaesu] speak ill of; abuse someone

口広い
[くちひろい, kuchi hiroi] big-mouthed, boastful

口不調法
[くちぶちょうほう, kuchi buchouhou] unskillful speaker

口下手
[くちべた, kuchibeta] poor speaker; tongue-tied person

口やかましい
[くちやかましい, kuchi yakamashi] nagging, critical

口悪者
[くちわるもの, kuchi warumono] foul-mouthed person; abusive person

口を利く
[くちをきく, kuchi o kiku] speak; mediate between

口を極める
[くちをきわめる, kuchi o kiwameru] be very persuasive

口を捜す
[くちをさがす, kuchi o sagasu] look for a position

口を拭く
[くちをふく, kuchi o fuku] pretend; fake

口を汚す
[くちをよごす, kuchi o yogosu] eat

首にする
[くびにする, kubi ni suru] fire

首になる
[くびになる, kubi ni naru] be fired

首をかしげる
[くびをかしげる, kubi o kashigeru] put one’s head to the side

首を切る
[くびをきる, kubi o kiru] dismiss; fire; discharge; behead

首をすくめる
[くびをすくめる, kubi o sukumeru] duck one’s head; shrug one’s shoulders

首を長くして待つ
[くびをながくしてまつ, kubi o nagaku shite matsu] look forward to something impatiently; be eagerly awaiting

首をひねる
[くびをひねる, kubi o hineru] think hard; wrack one’s brain

隈なく
[くまなく, kuma naku] in every nook and cranny; all over

比べ物になる(にならない)
[くらべものになる(にならない), kurabemono ni naru] compare to; be comparable to

君子豹変す
[くんしひょうへんす, kunshi hyouhensu] a wise man changes his mind


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