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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.



手いらず

時々
[ときどき, toki doki] at times, sometimes

ドクターストップ
[どくたーすとっぷ, dokutaa sutoppu] being ordered by one’s doctor to give up such habits as drinking, smoking, overeating, etc.

特ダネ
[とくだね, tokudane] scoop, exclusive

特になし
[とくになし, toku ni nashi] nothing in particular

ところで
[ところで, tokoro de] by the way

年が明ける
[としがあける, toshi ga akeru] the year begins, starts

年甲斐もない
[としがいもない, toshigai mo nai] foolishly; wrong for one’s age

どっちに転んでも
[どっちにころんでも, docchi o korondemo] however this turns out

隣の芝生
[となりのしばふ, tonari no shibafu] the grass is always greener

とりあえず
[とりあえず, toriaezu] for now; for the moment; for the time being

鳥肌
[とりはだ, torihada] gooseflesh (lit.: chicken skin)

とりわけ
[とりわけ, toriwake] above all, especially, in particular

とりを取る
[とりをとる, tori o toru] bring up the rear; last but not least

泥縄式
[どろなわしき, doronawashiki] jerry-rigged; like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted

頓痴気
[とんちき, tonchiki] dope; dullard

飛んでる女
[とんでるおんな, tonderu onna] superwoman (lit.: flying woman)


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