Kodansha’s Dictionary of Basic Japanese Idioms [illustrated, annotated] 4770027974, 9784770027979

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Kodansha’s Dictionary of Basic Japanese Idioms [illustrated, annotated]
 4770027974,  9784770027979

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Kodansha’s Dictionary of

Basic Ja p a n e se Idiom s J e f f G a rris o n K a y o k o K im iy a G e o r g e W a lla c e M a s a h ik o G o s h i


SYMBOLS USED IN THIS BOOK related information about the entry under discussion or about a word or phrase appearing in a sample sentence. a cross-reference to a synonym, antonym, or other related word or phrase in this dictionary.


variant reading or script for the idiom under discussion.

Based on four titles in Kodansha International’ s P o w er Japanese series: "B o d y " Language by J eff Garrison (1990), Com m unicating with Ki: The l,S p irit" in Japanese Idiom s by J e ff Garrison and K ayoko K im iya (1994), K a n ji Idiom s by G eorge W allace and K ayoko K im iya (1995), and Anim al Idiom s by J eff Garrison and Masahiko Goshi (1996). Distributed in the United States by Kodansha Am erica, Inc., and in the United Kingdom and continental Europe by Kodansha Europe Ltd. Published by Kodansha International Ltd., 17-14 O tow a 1-chome, Bunkyo-ku, T o k y o 112-8652, and Kodansha Am erica, Inc. Copyright © 2002 by Kodansha International Ltd. A ll rights reserved. Pnnted in Japan. IS B N 97 8 -4 -7 7 0 0 -2 7 9 7 -9 First edition, 2002 15 14 13 12 1110 09 08 07


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3


P r e f a c e ..................................... 6

D I C T I O N A R Y ........................ 9




Kodansha }s Dictionary o f Basic Japanese Idioms is based on fou r p revi­ ously published books in Kodansha Intem ationaFs P o w e r Japanese series:

^Body^ Language by J e ff Garrison (1990), Communicating with K i: The ''S p irit'' in Japanese Idioms by J e ff G arrison and K a y o k o K im iy a (1994), Kanji Idioms b y G eorge W a lla ce and K a y o k o K im iy a (1995), and Animal Idioms b y J e ff Garrison and M asahiko G oshi (1996). T h e content o f these books has been rearranged into alphabetical order by Japanese entry word, m inor changes have been made in the text, m ore extensive cross-references have been added, and an index has been appended. It is hoped that the result­ ant b oo k w ill m ake the study o f Japanese idiom s much m ore convenient. Students w h o are approaching idiom s fo r the first tim e may want to know exactly what an id iom is. T h e third edition o f the American Heritage

Dictionary defines the w ord as ua speech form or an expression o f a given language that is peculiar to its e lf gram m atically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings o f its elements, as in keep tabs o n ." T his sim ­ ply means that students o f the English language may k now the individual meanings o f keep, tab, and on, but still not understand what the phrase keep

tabs on means. T h e same applies to the Japanese language. F or exam ple, students may k now the individual words in the phrase

肩 を持つた am

o m o びm ( た a fa =

shoulder, o = particle indicating a direct object, motsu = hold), but still not understand what the phrase as a w h o le means ( “ to side with or support som eone” ). T o learn the meaning, there is no choice but to lo o k the phrase up in a dictionary and com m it it to m em ory. I f idiom s lik e this cropped up


on ly occasionally in w riting or conversation, they w ou ld not represent a problem worth fretting about, but the fact is that idiom s are just as w id ely used in Japanese as they are in English. This is because they are often the most concise, efficien t, and pointed w a y o f expressing what one wants to say. Thus students must first learn idiom s in order to understand everyday conversation and written material. This can be called a passive use o f idiom s— to understand them us they are presented by an outside source, so that you can at least grasp the intent o f what is bein g conveyed. T h e second reason students must study idiom s is proactive, since it is on ly through idiom s that students can hope to express their thoughts e ffe c ­ tiv e ly and avoid aw kw ard paraphrasing. Better to learn them than to be continually stopped in the midst o f a paraphrase by your Japanese con ver­ sant with a sudden 4tOh, you mean kata o motsu," or whatever, provid in g exactly the right phrase fo r what you wanted to say. There are many other reasons w h y idiom s must, or should, be learned, not the least o f w hich is the fact that idiom s often serve as pivotal points fo r jokes. F o r instance, you could play on the B ib lical admonition that “ you should not cast pearls b efore sw ine”


5/z/azゾ ’w, meaning, o f

course, that you shouldn't g iv e som ething important to a person w h o can­ not understand its value. I f a certain Tanaka-san is just that obtuse person, you could say, “ D o n ’ t cast pearls b efo re Tanaka-san”


Tanaka-san ni shinju. O r let us say that in your place o f w ork there is a British person w h o is know n fo r ins crafty political maneuvering. L e t us further say that a Japanese, m aking use o f a com m on expression, refers to him as an “ w ilv old raccoon”

古 d里

Y o u could play on this

id iom and respond by saying that “ the o n ly thing w orse than a w ily o ld raccoon is a w ily old Brit”

古涯より古イキリス人が恐ろしいル /^-也 /2m/:/

yori furu -Igirisu -jin ga osorosnu. T h e idiom s appearing in this b ook are basically o f tw o types: idiom atic words and phrases (such as those cited ab ove) and expressions com posed o f fou r C hinese characters (com m on ly called

四 字 熟 語 ;yc77-ゾ wた wgo

“ four-

character com pounds” ). T h ese com pounds are generally not thought o f as idiom s but either sim ply as com pound nouns o r as adages and proverbs.


年功序歹 lj « ⑼ 意 識 不 明 /从 /た/-/wme/ ( “ unconscious” ) ,which, though

Am ong the compound nouns might be counted ( “ seniority” ) and

they are fairly straightforward, need some interpretation to be understood and therefore can be considered within the idiom bailiwick. The adage or proverb type definitely need explanation to be understood. Examples are

呉 越 同 舟 が 如 w-ゴ加 /uz ( “ the G o and the Etsu in the same boat” ) and 十 人 十 色 ゾ 的 /ra ( “ ten people, ten colors” ). This type can be considered idiomatic in the sense that their exact meaning is not clear from the surface meaning o f the individual words. In conclusion, it might be noted that a good number o f the idioms involve the character % ki. These words and phrases are extremely impor­ tant in expressing moods and feelings, and without at least minimal knowl­ edge o f them it is nearly impossible to carry on a normal conversation. Starting w ith 兀 気 が /2た/ (origin al た/), as i n お 兀 気です か が nた/み 似 h “ How are you?” and going on to heavy, light, long, short, warped, and crazed た/, and ending perhaps w it h そ う い う 気 が し ま し た M


shimashita ''That^ the way I felt about it,?, innumerable ways are provided for expressing reelings and thoughts. A ll in all, idioms are not only useful一 in fact, indispensable一 to speak­ ing and understanding Japanese, but they can also be a great deal o f fun to learn, to explore, and, yes, to play with.

Editorial Department, Kodansha International




aW-/ry^/faii阿 鼻 叫 喚 "screaming in hell" pandemonium, like a scene out o f hell 戦闘の後の町は、 まさに阿鼻叫喚の巷だった。 Sento no ato no machi wa, masa ni abi-kyokan no chimata datta. A fte r the battle the town looked like a scene from hell.

爆発事故で、工場は阿鼻叫喚の場となった。 Bakuhatsu-jiK〇 de, kojo wa aoi-kydKan no ba to natta. A fte r bein g hit by that explosion, the factory looked lik e som ething out o i D ante5s Inferno.

芻 O rigin a lly 阿鼻 and 叫喚 are

the names o f tw o o f the eigh t burning hells

o f Buddhism. In Sanskrit the tw o hells are called A v ic i and Raurava.

abu 虫 亡 horsefly A n yo n e w h o has been bitten b y one knows a little o f what horses and cattle must g o through and at least one reason they have lon g tails. T h e fem ales o f this species are bloodsuckers. T h e y ’ ll take a piece out o f your hide i f you g iv e 'e m a chance.

Abu are countea ippiki ^ 2 5 .

AわM/zac/z/tora⑶ Sit蜂 取 ら ず “catch neither the horsefly nor the bee” try to do two things and fail at both; fall between two stools そんなに欲張っても虻蜂取らずになったら元も子もないよ。 Sonna ni yokubatte mo abuhachi torazu ni nattara moto mo ko mo nai yo. L e t your greed get the better o f you and y o u 'll end up fallin g flat on your face.

12 AGO

彼はいろいろな事業に手を出しすぎて、結局虻蜂取らずとなった。 Kare wa iro iro na jigyd ni te o dashisugite, kekkyoku abuhachi torazu to natta. H e overextended by branching out into all kinds o f businesses and went bust. ® There are several vanations o f tnis expression: abu mo hachi mo torazu lilt も蜂も取らず, aわ m m o 的razM /zac/z/ mo /orazw 虫亡も取らず蜂も取らず, and a わ m mo torazw /zac/w'm

虫亡も取らず蜂に刺される. T h e


tw o are reconfigurations o f the idiom as it appears in the entry; the third translates literally as “ not only fail to catch the horsefly, but get stung by a bee (in the p rocess).’ ,

sim ilar expression is

o ow m ono w a

o fm o ) ezw

二兎を追う者は一鬼を( も)得ず, precisely the same as (and perhaps derived from ) the English “ I f you run after tw o hares, you w ill catch neither/’ It is effectiv e ly the opposite o f

— 石二鳥, or “ (k illin g ) tw o birds with one


ゆ isseki-nichd — 石二鳥


あご jaw(s}, chin

It means the lo w e r ja w , both upper and lo w e r jaw s, or the chin. W h en you hear ago ga yowai at ringside, you know that som e b oxer has a ^weak^ or "glass^ jaw . Contrarily, about a guy w h o can really take a punch, you say ago

ga tsuyoi. Figurative meanings o f ago include excessive talking or ja w in g and, less com m only, foo d o r chow. Idiom s exem p lifyin g these meanings are included in the fo llo w in g selection.

A供 み (Tzto 加んa w あ ご で (人 を )使 う “ Use someone with one’ s jaw .” boss someone around, be bossy



あの会社の社長は、あごで人を使うので嫌われている。 Ano kaisha no shacho wa, ago de hito o tsukau no de kirawarete iru. A lot o f people don ’ t like the president o f that com pany because h e’ s such a slave driver.

彼は使用人をあごで使っていた。 Kare wa shiyo-nin o ago de tsukatte ita. H e was really cracking the whip. This expression is presumably from the unpopular habit among some Japanese o f ordering people around by m otion in g with their chin and a slight flic k o f the head.

Aが g a み rw / aが 0 Ja似 あ こ が 出 る / あ こ を 出 す “ one’ s jaw is sticking out” be bushed, worn out, done in, dog tired, dragging ass 歩き過ぎて、あごが出た。 Arukisugi de, ago ga deta. r m beat (dead tired, burned out) from w alking so far. / F m all walked out.

こんな重労働が毎日続いたら、さすがの彼女もあごを出すだろう。 Konna ju -ro d o ga mamichi tsuzuitara, sasuga no kanojo mo ago o aasu dard. I f the w orkload keeps up like this much longer, even she’ s go in g to drop in her tracks. ❽


m n arw / 似/»• 0


足が棒になる / 足を棒にする ,

疲労困憊 ; 尽⑼ん/兀気

Ago ga oc/i/rw あ こ が 落 ち る “one’ s jaw falls” mouthwatering, delicious, succulent, y.ummy, fit for a king この店のミートローフはあごが落ちるほどうまい。 Kono mise no mTtorofu wa ago ga ochiru hodo umai.


T h is place has g o t som e m eatloaf that’ ll get your ju ices flow in g.

多あ、おいしい。 あごが落ちそうなくらい。 A oishii. A go ga ochiso na kurai. U m m m , this is fit fo r a king.

A \ s o ほつベたか落ちる hoppeta ga ochim.

a/md/-fno/co 曖 昧 模 糊 "vague and indistinct" 〜とした,〜としているvague, hazy, patchy, wishy-washy そんな曖昧模糊とした説明で納得できると思ってるのかね。 Sonna aimai-moko to shita setsumei de nattoku dekiru to omotte 'ru no ka ne. D o you really think you can con vin ce me with such a w ishy-w ashy e x ­ planation?

あいつの話は何だか曖昧模糊と していて、訳が分からなかったよ。 Aitsu no hanashi wa nandaka aimai-moko to shite ite, wake ga wakaranakatta yo. T h e guy just went on and on in such a vague and roundabout w ay that I had no idea what he was talking about.

僕にも確信があるわけじゃなくて、曖昧模糊とした印象に過ぎ ないんだけどね。 Boku ni mo kakushin ga aru wake ja nakute, aimai-moko to shita insho ni suginai n ' da kedo ne. It is just a vagu e impression; it is not that I 7m absolutely sure about it.



悪 戦 苦 闘 " a difficult battle, a bitter struggle""_________________________________ a long hard fight;〜する to fight desperately (with one’ s back to the wall, against heavy odds) 悪戦苦闘の末、明け方になってやっとレポートを書き終わったよ。 Akusen-kuto no sue, akegata ni natte yatto repoto o kakiowatta yo. A fter a long hard slog I finally managed to finish my report by dawn.

かれこれ半年も悪戦苦闘の毎日だったけど、来月からは少し楽 になりそうなんだ。 Karekore hantoshi mo akusen-kuto no maimchi datta kedo, raigetsu kara wa sukoshi raku ni nariso nan da. For the past six months it’ s been nose to the grindstone all the way, but from next month it looks like things511 get easier.

忙しい日にバイトの子に休まれちゃって、朝から悪戦苦闘だよ。 lsogashii hi ni baito no ko ni yasumarechatte, asa kara akusen-kuto da yo. W e V e been rushed o ff our feet all morning, thanks to that part-timer taking the day o ff just when we needed her most.

釤バイト( わa/ro) is the shortened form o f ア


part-time job. It is a loanword coming from the German word for work (Arbeit).

ancAiO-mosa/ru 暗 中 模 索 "searching in the dark” 〜する to grope blindly in the dark, to be (all) at sea, to be at a (total) loss どこから始めたらいいのか、 まだ暗中模索だよ。 D oko kara hajimetara ii no ka, mada anchu-mosaku da yo. I ’ m still totally in the dark as to where to begin.


大変なのは分かるが、 いつまでも暗中模索の状態が続いてるの はちょっと困るな。 Taihen na no wa wakaru ga, itsu made mo anchu-mosaku no jotai ga tsuzuite lru no wa chotto komaru na. I realize things are difficu lt, but your continued cluelessness is not mak­ in g our life any easier.

暗中模索しているうちに、ふっと良い考えがひらめいたんだ。 Anchu-mosaku shite iru uchi n i,futto yoi kangae ga hirameita n ' da. T h ere I was, w ondering what on earth I should do when suddenly I had a great idea.

青 息 吐 息 " blue breath, exhaling breath (i.e., a sigh),# be in great distress, have a hard time or it 元金どころか利子を払うだけで青息吐息の毎日なんだ。 Gankin dokoro ka rishi o harau dake de aoiki-toiki no maimchi nan da. Pay back the initial loan? Y o u ’ v e go t to be kiddin g! I ’ m busting a gut just tryin g to m eet the interest payments.

早く人員を補充してくれなきや、 こっちはもう青息吐息だよ。 Hayaku jin 'in o hoju shite kurenakya, kotchi wa mo aoiki-toiki da yo. T h e y ’ re gonna have to g iv e us som e extra staff soon; w e ’ re on ly just managing to keep our heads ab ove water.

an fe


Ants appear often in fo lk tales, o w in g to their social behavior and other fan­ cifu l similarities to humankind. A n y unusal activity by ants is also thought



to presage events. F o r exam ple, when ants are observed fighting, it is believed to warn o f impending rain. Ants are counted

た / 一匹, or

/c/z/vvfl —

羽, and

the latter is not used

exclu sively o f the w in ged varieties.

An’ -ノ 如たw 織 地 獄 “ a doodlebug” quicksand, a trap 借金の蟻地獄にはまった彼はとうとう会社の金に手を出した。 Shakkin no ari-jigoku ni hamatta kare wa toto kaisha no kane ni te o dashita. H avin g fallen d eeply in debt, he ended up d ipping into corporate funds.

彼は新興宗教にうっかり引っかかり、蟻地獄に落ちる思いであ った0 Rare wa shinko-shukyo ni ukkari hikkakari, ari-jigoku ni ochiru om oi de atta. A fte r fallin e in with som e new religion, he began to reel trapped.

蟻地獄のような売春組織にひっかかった彼女はその後行方がわ からなくなった。 Ari-jikoku no yd na baishun-soshiki ni hikkakatta kanojo wa sono ato yukue ga wakaranaku natta. She was n ever heard trom again once she had been sucked into the quick­ sand o f organized orostitution.

釤 The

doodlebug is the larva o f the ant lion. This energy-efficien t creature

lies in ambush at the bottom o f a conical sand trap fo r ants that slide down that slippery slope into its arthropodan mandibles. D espite parallels with K o b o A b e 's Woman in the Dunes, there is no evidence that the fem ale o f the species is particularly rapacious. A s fo r the idiom , it derives from the trap its namesake constructs, and is used o f a condition into which one has fallen and fro m w hich escape is all but im possible. Perhaps taking a hint from en tom ology, enterprising city planners in Japan have devised an ingenious concrete contraption (much to the delight o f harried mothers) that resem ­


bles the doodlebug’ s lair, on ly much bigger. Placed strategically in city parks, these ari-jigoku e ffe c tiv e ly restrict a c h ild 's wanderings, freein g the m other fo r a fe w moments o f peace and prattle.

A n / w z / みrw似た/膨 而 / 蟻 の 這 い で る 隙 も な い “ without space for so much as an ant to crawl out” completely surrounded, sealed off, cordoned off 強盗が立てこもった民家の周りには蟻の這いでる隙もないほど の警官が包囲した。 Lrdto ga tatekomotta minka no mawari ni wa a ri no haideru suki mo nai hodo no keikan ga hoi shita. i’he house where the robber was holed up was sealed o f f watertight by the pohce. / N ob od y could possibly get through the police cordon around the house where the robber was hiding out.

国連の平和維持部隊は包囲され蟻の這いでる隙もなかった。 Kokuren no heiwa-iji-butai wa hoi sare a ri no haideru suki mo nakatta. United Nations peacekeepers w ere com pletely sealed o f f from the outside.

^ U sed most com m on ly o f, or by, law enforcem ent or the m ilitary.

Ar/ f•たた^ sm 蟻 の 一 穴 “ an ant hole” a tiny mistake can lead to disaster

蟻の一穴とならないよう、 もう一度チェックしよう。 A ri no ikketsu to naranai yd, mo icnido chekku shiyo. I ’ m g o in g to look this o ve r again to make sure there’ s nothing in here that could be m y undoing.

作業員の不注意が蟻の一穴となり、 その現場は一瞬にしてがれ きの山となった。



Sagyo-in nofu-chui ga ari no ikketsu to nari, sono genba wa isshun ni shite gareki no yama to natta. A sim ple slipup by one o f the workers turned the construction site into a mountain o f rubble in an instant. ^ From an ancient parable about a 10,000-fo o t dike that collapsed due to a single tunnel dug by an ant, this idiom is often used as an admonition against oversight or omission.

ash/ 足丨eg,foot People, dogs, insects, tables and chairs all have them. Squid have them, too.

Ashi can be used to mean either the w h ole le g or just the foot. An oth er m eaning is m ode o f transportation, o r m ore colloq u ially, o n e ’ s wheels. So

ashi ga nai doesn't mean that the speaker has met with som e terrible acci­ dent, it just means that his car is in the shop o r he has no w a y o f getting around.

can also mean m oney or “ bread” when preceded by o, pre-

sumably because o f the w a y it just seems to run aw ay from you. Finally, fo r all you scatologists out there, the third or m iddle le g is the same in Japanese,

sanbon-me no ashi.

•が/ひと足 違い,

o / «m M 二の足を踏む

Agms/z/ o torw あ げ 足 を 取 る “grab someone’s leg when it’ s in the air” pick at, trip someone up 彼女は、人のあげ足を取っては喜んでいる。 Kanojo wa, hito no ageashi o totte wa yorokonde iru. She gets a kick out o f fin d in g fault with w hat p eople say.


人のあげ足ばかり取るのは、良いことではない。 H ito no ageashi bakari torn no wa, yoi koto de wa nai. It’ s not right to just trip people up all the time.

AW が / 0 わJ 足 が 棒 に な る /足 を 棒 に す る “one’ s legs become sticks” be so tired that one’s legs feel like rubber bands 足が棒になるまで歩き回った。 Ashi ga bo ni naru made arukimawatta. I w alked m y legs o ff.

足を棒にして安いアパートを探し回った。 Ashi o


m shite yasui apato o sagashi mawatta.

I w alked around lookin g fo r a cheap apartment until I was practically dead on m y feet (thought I w ou ld drop).

ゆ 呢 o g a みrw/ ago o ぬ似顎が出る/ 顎を出す, /z/rJ-A:⑽pa/疲労困憊

A 土 • ga c/z/ m•加んana/ touching the ground”


“one’ s feet aren’ t

( 1 ) be extremely excited (2) be unrealistic, not have one’ s feet on the ground,impractical, have one’ s head up in the clouds ( 1 ) 3 力月先の旅行のことばかり考えて、足が地に着かない。 Sankagetsu-saki no ryokd no koto bakari kangaete, ashi ga chi ni tsukanai.

I feel as if Pm walking on air, the way Pm always thinking about the trip w e ’ re go in g on three months from now.

( 2)


Kare wa yume bakari otte ite ashi ga chi ni tsuite inai. H e ’ s alw ays up in the clouds som ewhere, chasing a pipe dream.

A ls o 地に足が着いていないc/i/ w/flWga 加 /fc iVwii.


A W が み w 足 が 出 る “ one’ s feet are sticking out” run over the budget, be in the red 新年会で足が出た。 Shinnen-kai de ashi ga deta. The N ew Y ear’ s party ran over the budget (ended up in the red).

節約したつもりだったが、今回の旅行も結局足が出てしまった。 Setsuyaku shita tsumori datta ga, konkai no ryokd mo kekkyoku ashi ga dete shimatta. I tried to keep expenses dow n on the recent trip but ended up in the hole anyway.

A W ga/zaya/ 足 が 早 い “ have fast feet”

( 1 ) be a fast runner (2) (of food) spoil quickly ( 1 ) 彼は足が早い。 Kare wa ashi ga hayai. H e ’ s fast on his feet. / H e can really fly.

(2 ) 生ものは足が早いので、特に梅雨どきには注意して下さい0 Namamono wa ashi ga hayai no de, toku ni tsuyu-doki ni wa chui shite kudasai. Fresh food s g o bad quickly, so be very careful during the rainy season.




“ p o in t o n e ’ s fe e t to w a r d ”

( 1 ) g o to w a rd , h ea d f o r ( 2 ) [in th e p h rase


ashi o m ukete wa n em u re n a i] n e v e r d o a n y th in g to hurt s o m e o n e (1 )


Tdhoku-chihd ni ashi o mukete tabidatta. W e set out on a trip (headed out) for the Tohoku area. (2 )


Ano kata ni ashi o mukete wa nemurenai. I could never do anything to hurt him (after all he’ s done for me).


c? mわ

足 を 奪 う

“ steal o n e ’ s fe e t o r le g s ”

strand s o m e o n e , ta k e a w a y s o m e o n e ’ s w h e e ls

その電車の脱線事故は、6000 人の足を奪った。 Sono densha no dassen-jiko wa, rokusen-nin no ashi o ubatta. T h e train derailm ent left 6,000 p eople stranded.

大雪で、大勢の通勤客の足が奪われた。 Oyuki de, dzei no tsukin-kyaku no ashi ga ubawareta. M an y commuters w ere le ft without transportation b y the snowstorm.

atam a 頭 head


W hat better place to start than at the top, w hich in Japanese is atama kara, or, literally, ''fro m the head5*? In addition to its obvious reference to a d iv i­ sion o f the body, atama shares many other meanings with its English equ iv­ alent, including mind, intelligence, and top or beginning. A n example o f which is atama o hitsuyd to shinai shigoto, m eaning 4ta jo b that it doesn't take any smarts or brains to do.” Som e idioms, such as atama no teppen kara ashi no tsumasaki made (from the top o f on e’ s head to the tip o f on e’ s toes), are the same both literally and figu ra tively in English. Y o u can even count cattle, horses, and other large mammals like whales as you w ou ld in English, but the pronunciation o f the character fo r 伽

Atama dekkachi

changes to

so fiv e head o f horses is g o -的

頭 で っ か ち “big (large) headed”

( 1 ) (of the size o f a person’ s head) big-headed, have a big head (2) (of an institution) top-heavy, too many chiefs and not enough Indians (3) (of a person or way of thinking) academic, intellectual, pointy-headed (1 )


Aitsu wa atama dekkachi da na. L o o k at the size o f that gu y 's head, w ou ld you. (2 )


/\soko wa amaKudari no yakuin bakari de, atama dekkachi na Kaisha da. That com pany is top-heavy, with form er governm ent o ffic ia ls fillin g the m anagem ent ranks. (3 )


Atama dekkachi na iken wa settoku-ryoku ni kakeru. Pointy-headed (iv o ry -to w e r) opinions are unconvincing.

あいつは頭でっかちだ。 Aitsu wa atama dekkachi da. H e ’ s such a conehead.


A 如/mz 职 agara■ • 頭 が 上 が ら な い “can’t lift up one’s head” can’ t stand up to someone, be no match for someone あいつは女房に頭が上がらないらしい。 Aitsu wa nyobo ni atama ga agaranai rashii. Word is that he’ s no match for his w ife (is henpecked). / 1 hear his w ife wears the pants in the family.

どうして彼は社長に頭が上がらないのだろう。 D o shite kare wa shachd ni atama ga agaranai no dard. W hy do you suppose he can’ t stand up to the boss?

Amma が ル 頭 が 古 い “one’ s head is old” be behind the times, be ot the old scnool お父さんは頭が古いよ。 Otosan wa atama ga fu ru i yo. Oh, Dad, y o u ’ re so out o f it. / Y o u ’ re such an old fo g y , Dad.

私の頭が古いのか、同棲する人たちの考えは理解できない 0 Watashi no atama ga fu ru i no ka, dosei suru hitotachi no kangae wa rikai dekinai. M ayb e I ’ m just old-fashioned, but I can’ t understand people w h o live together without being married (w h o shack up). arama g a


Afama が // 頭 が い い ‘‘one’ s head is good” be smart, sharp, bright, quick 鈴木さんは頭がいいですね。 Suzuki-san wa atama ga u desu ne. Suzuki's a pretty sharp (brigh t) guy. / Suzuki has go t a g o o d head on his shoulders.


彼女は頭のいい人が好きです。 Kanojo wa atama no ii hito ga suki desu. She g oes fo r smart (in telligen t) guys.

ga hrer“ 頭が切れる,a/ama ふた/料 c/z/gaM頭の出来が違 う,a如ma A:似7伙 ga 頭の回転が早い; ⑽ ma ga m• わ頭が鈍 い, afama ga hwm/頭が悪い,c/i/ no m印mWga hwm/血の巡りが悪い

Afama 即か /?a/ 頭 が い っ ぱ い “one’s head is full’ , be preoccupied, obsessed with something 彼は来週提出する論文の事で頭がいっぱいだ。 Kare wa raishu teishutsu suru ronbun no koto de atama ga ippai da. A l l he can think about is the report he has to turn in next week. / H e ’ s got a lot on his mind, what with the report he’ s go t to turn in next week.

彼は今娘の結婚のことで頭がいっぱいです。 Kare wa ima musume no kekkon no koto de atama ga ippai desu. H e ’ s go t this thing (a bee in his bonnet) now about getting his daughter married o ff.

A 如m a 糾 /加 / 戚 が 痛 い “ one’ s head hurts”

(1 )have a headache, one’ s head hurts (2) worry over something ( 1 ) 二日酔いで頭が痛い。 Futsuka-yoi de atama ga itai. I ’ v e g o t a headache from being hung over.

(2) ローンの事を考えると頭が痛い。 Ron no koto o kangaeru to atama ga itai. Just thinking about that loan makes m e sick.

どうして頭の痛い問題ばかり起きるのだろうか。 D o snite atama no itai mondai bakari okiru no dard ka.



W h y is it that every problem has got to be such a hassle? / W h y does every­ thing have to be such a pain in the neck?

01^ '© l ' 4thave a hard head5* be stubborn, pigheaded, unreceptive to change

Atama gakatai

彼は頭が固い。 Kare wa atama ga katai. H e is hardheaded.

年をとると頭が固くなるものだね。 Toshi o toru to atama ga kataku naru mono da ne. I guess the o lder you get the m ore set in your w ays you becom e. a如

gfl/wn// 頭が古い; fl/a/na go_yavvara/:a /頭が柔らかい

be a quick thinker, quick on one’ s feet あの弁護士は本当に頭が切れる。 Ano bengo-shi wa honto ni atama ga kireru. That la w yer is really sharp. / That law yer is really on the ball. f l f a m a が // 頭がいい,

⑽みた/ g a c/n gaM 頭の出来が違う, 頭の回転が早い;a/ama g a 頭が鈍い , atom a g a 而 rw/ 頭が悪い, c/i/⑽ megMr/ g a vvari//血の巡りが悪い

ma m ? た a/fen g a

Atoma ga

わm/ 頭 が 純 い “ one’ s head is dull”

be dull-witted, slow-witted こんなに説明してもわからないとは、彼はちょっと頭が鈍いの かな 0


Konna ni setsumei shite mo wakaranai to wa, kare wa chotto atama ga nibui no ka na. H e must be a little s low (th ick) i f he still doesn't understand after all the explaining F v e done.

汾 atoma ga HYm//頭が悪い,c/z/⑽ megwW ga vvan