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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.



根赤
[ねあか, neaka] bright, optimistic, sunny

根暗
[ねくら, nekura] negative, pessimistic, gloomy

猫可愛がりにかわいがる
[ねこかわいがりにかわいがる, neko kawagari ni kawaigaru] dote on; baby

猫舌
[ねこじた, neko-jita] burned tongue

猫背
[ねこぜ, nekoze] person with rounded shoulders or a stooped back (lit.: cat back)

猫に小判
[ねこにこばん, neko ni koban
pearls before swine

猫の額のように狭い
[ねこのひたいのようにせまい, neko no hitai no you ni semai] very small, narrow

猫の目のように変わる
[ねこのめのようにかわる, neko no me no you ni kawaru] change like the eyes of a cat; be fickle; be mercurial

猫ばば
[ねこばば, neko baba] pocket; act innocent

猫も杓子も
[ねこもしゃくしも, neko mo shakushi mo] every Tom, Dick, and Harry; everyone; everything

粘り強い
[ねばりづよい, nebarizuyoi] stubborn, steadfast, persistent

根回し
[ねまわし, ne-mawashi] process of developing or nurturing relationships in the hope of future prosperity or growth

寝耳に水
[ねみみにみず, ne-mimi ni mizu] a bolt from the blue; a great surprise


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