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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.



苦い顔をする
[にがいかおをする, nigai gao o suru] frown; make a wry face

肉眼
[にくがん, nikugan] naked eye

肉の快楽
[にくのかいらく, niku no kairaku] pleasures of the flesh

肉の満足
[にくのまんぞく, niku no manzoku] sensual gratification

肉の誘惑
[にくのゆうわく, niku no yuuwaku] temptations of the flesh

肉筆
[にくひつ, nikuhitsu] one’s own handwriting; autograph

肉欲
[にくよく, nikuyoku] animal passions, carnal desire(s)

二重人格
[にじゅうじんかく, nijuu-ningen] double personality; Jekyll-and-Hyde (lit.: duplicate person)

二枚舌を使う
[にまいじたをつかう, nimaijita o tsukau] tell a lie; be two-faced; speak with a forked tongue

二枚目
[にまいめ, nimaime] handsome man (based on the Kabuki system of ranking characters)

二枚目半
[にまいめはん, nimaime-han] a man who is both handsome and fun (lit.: halfway between nimaime and sanmaime)

によると
[によると, ni yoru to] according to

如露亦如電
[にょろやくにょでん, nyoro yaku nyoden] gone in a flash (lit.: like dew or lightning; n.b.: literary, anachronistic).
1. 真に人間の命なぞ、如露亦如電に違いございません。(Truly the life of man is as fleeting as the dew or the lightning (from "In a Grove" by Akutagawa Ryunosuke).

人気がある
[にんきがある, ninki ga aru] be popular; be liked

人形を使う
[にんぎょうをつかう, ninkyou o tsukau] putt wires

人間ドック
[にんげんどっく, ningen dokku] thorough physical exam

人間のくず
[にんげんのくず, ningen no kuzu] human trash


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