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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.



昔々
[むかしむかし, mukashi mukashi] Once upon a time; a long time ago. 1. 昔々、あるところにおじいさんとおばあさんが住んでいました。(Once upon a time, an old man and woman lived in a certain place).

虫唾が走る
[むしずがはしる, mushizu ga hashiru] be disgusted with; loathe; give one the creeps.

虫の息
[むしのいき, mushi no iki] faint breathing.

無二無三に
[むにむさんに, muni musan ni] recklessly, desperately.

胸がいっぱい
[むねがいっぱい, mune ga ippai] overwhelmed with emotion; my heart is too full of words; I have no words for.

胸が躍る
[むねがおどる, mune ga odoru] one’s heart leaps with.

胸が広い
[むねがひろい, mune ga hiroi] be open-hearted; be magnaminous.

胸に一物ある
[むねにいちもつある, mune ni ichimotsu aru] have an ax to grind.

胸に釘
[むねにくぎ, mune ni kugi] a twinge of conscience.

胸を打ち明ける
[むねをうちあける, mune o uchiakeru] open one’s mind.


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