Forthright to an actual fault

身も蓋もない
(Mi mo futa mo nai; “No filter”)

Definition:

Too blunt; too open. Someone’s attitude or words being so blunt and tactless that they lack all nuance or subtlety; by extension, so blunt and tactless that further conversation becomes impossible. Literally “no body and no lid” – the “vessel” is entirely absent.

Breakdown:

We have two nouns: (mi), “body,” and (futa), “lid.” Each is marked by the particle (mo), “also” or “and.” They’re followed by ない (nai), the negative form of the “to be” verb, in sentence-final form.

Notes:

Note that (utsuwa), “vessel,” or “container,” can also metaphorically refer to someone’s level of ability, and that saying of someone that 器が小さい (utsuwa ga chiisai), “the vessel is small,” means they’re intolerant toward others’ foibles.

Mi can also be written as homophone without any change in meaning.

See also 単刀直入.

Example sentence:

「あの人は疲れた時、身も蓋もない話し方になるぞ。頼みたいことがあったら明日がいいかも」

(“Ano hito wa tsukareta toki, mi mo futa mo nai hanashikata ni naru zo. Tanomitai koto ga attara ashita ga ii kamo.”)

[“When they’re tired, they get really blunt. If you’re asking for something you should probably wait until tomorrow.”]

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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