Category Archives: Yojijukugo

What you don’t know CAN kill you

夏虫疑氷 ka.chuu.gi.hyou Literally: summer – insect – doubt – ice Alternately: A person of extremely limited experience, knowledge, and discernment. Someone ignorant, doubtful, or distrustful of everything that falls outside of their own (meager) personal experience. Like an insect that … Continue reading

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Power is small things in large numbers

一粒万倍 ichi.ryuu.man.bai Literally: one – particle – ten thousand – times (as in multiplication) Alternately: From something tiny, a huge profit. By extension, an admonition not to look down on small or simple things, because even the most humble appearance … Continue reading

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An open heart in your pocket

虚心坦懐 kyo.shin.tan.kai Literally: empty – heart/mind – wide/level – pocket/heart Alternately: Open-minded and open-hearted. Without any bias, hangups, or pent-up bad feelings. Notes: In this compound of compounds, 虚心 refers to a lack of prejudice or preconception, while 坦懐 is … Continue reading

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Sorry about all the words

暴言多罪 bou.gen.ta.zai Literally: violence – word – many – guilt/sin/crime Alternately: This is a polite, formulaic phrase to use at the close of a letter, apologizing to the recipient for being overlong, going too far with its content, or anything … Continue reading

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A garde for vants

斬新奇抜 zan.shin.ki.batsu Literally: behead – new – strange – extract Alternately: Completely new. Unprecedented. Often used to describe a novel idea or unconventional way of thinking. Notes: Compare and contrast this compound with prior entry 奇想天外. It is an error … Continue reading

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The actual cruelest month

…would be September, then, I guess. 秋霜烈日 shuu.sou.retsu.jitsu Literally: autumn – frost – intense – sun Alternately: Stringent severity – of intent, or of some expression of authority such as discipline, punishment, etc. Strictness as harsh as a lethal late-fall … Continue reading

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Keeping the mood, and the pocket, light

軽薄短小 kei.haku.tan.shou Literally: light – dilute – short – small Alternately: Of a thing: small and light. By metaphorical extension, a person whose character is shallow; a hollow person with no substance to them. Notes: The physical meaning has apparently … Continue reading

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