Of petards and self-inflicted hoisting


Literally: self – rope – self – bind

Alternately: Falling into your own snare. Painting oneself into a corner. Suffering because you’ve locked yourself into a (bad) situation through your own words and actions. Stripping away your own freedom of action.

Notes: We’re done with the 五十音 ordering! Later on I plan to run through all the characters again in いろは order, but for now I’m taking a bit of a breather from those strictures by introducing random compounds (and, on Sundays, kotowaza) that catch my fancy. Today’s compound is a more admonishing cousin to 自業自得.

This yojijukugo can also be used as part of a longer and more explicit phrase, 自縄自縛・に陥る (ni ochiiru), “to fall into one’s own trap.”

It might seem not entirely inappropriate, but replacing 自縛 with homophone 自爆 (self-explosion, self-destruction, suicide bombing) is considered an error.


These guys and their cheerfully literal rendition are, like, 90% of the image search results for this phrase. Oh, Japan.

About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
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1 Response to Of petards and self-inflicted hoisting

  1. Pingback: The fruit of corruption | landofnudotcom

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