Category Archives: Yojijukugo

I grind my bones to make my bread

粉骨砕身 fun.kotsu.sai.shin Literally: powder – bone – smash – body Alternately: To work as hard as you can. To give your all. In English we may work our fingers to the bone, but in Japanese you work until your bones … Continue reading

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Pretty words, pretty face, ugly heart

巧言令色 kou.gen.rei.shoku Literally: skill – word – command – color Alternately: Flattery. Blandishment. Pretty words and ingratiating facial expressions, usually backed by a desire to deceive or manipulate. Making nice with someone but hiding ill intent. Notes: This yojijukugo comes … Continue reading

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No words, but four characters

言語道断 gon.go.dou.dan Literally: say – language – road – sever Alternately: Outrageous; scandalous; inexcusable; absurd; unreasonable; terrible; something so far beyond the pale that you don’t even have words to describe how crazy it is. Mostly used for bad things. … Continue reading

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Giving oneself a (winning) hand

得手勝手 e.te.ka-.tte Literally: acquire – hand – win – hand Alternately: Doing whatever you want without regard for other people. Caring only about one’s own needs, desires, or convenience. Selfish or willful behavior. Notes: While toku is a valid reading … Continue reading

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Maybe later; not yet and not now

古今無双 ko.kon.mu.sou Literally: old – now – nothing – pair Alternately: Something is unmatched from the past to the present. A quality (often, but not always, greatness) is unequaled at any time in history, right up to the present moment. … Continue reading

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Scattered in the winds

I’m surprised it took me this long to get around to this one…. 支離滅裂 shi.ri.metsu.retsu Literally: branch – separate – destroy / perish – tear apart Alternately: The things someone says, or writes, or says and does, make no sense. … Continue reading

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Not “an idle and most false imposition,” for once

一体何者なんだ!? 名実一体 mei.jitsu.it-.tai Literally: name / reputation – reality – one – body Alternately: A thing is as it is said to be. The truth of a matter matches its reputation. Title and substance are as one. For example, when … Continue reading

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