Here is a list of Japanese “Word of the Day” shared in November 2021 on Takashioanry. See the Word of Today here.
Table of Contents
ピンからキリまで (also ピンキリ)
Saying “This is big and useful”, Maki showed off her Chanel bag as if saying “Look at this!”
Literal Meaning “water on a burning stone”
Meaning “make no difference; a drop in the ocean; be of no use”
He said “I’m drinking diet coke to lose weight”, but that’d make no difference.
Meaning “be scolded severely”
Meaning: “a surprise test”
Meaning “nod off while sitting”
My father, who was reading a book on a sofa, is now “rowing a boat” (“nodding off”).
あまのじゃく (天邪鬼 in kanji)
Other Info: This word became popular when Japan’s new consumption tax system was introduced in October 2019; see the blog post for its detail.
Whenever news comes out about someone famous having an affair, a plethora of “justice men” pop up on the internet and criticise them severely.
Other Info: The empty places are associated with a quiet forest where the desolate sound of a cuckoo resonates.
Because of the effect of the coronavirus, “a cuckoo is singing” in tourist spots. ( = There are very few people in tourists spots)
Literal Meaning “(I’m) full regarding ~
Meaning “I’ve had a bellyful of ~”
“I’ve had a bellyful of this news”
Because I don’t have popularity, even if I stream a live video, nobody comes to see me.
Meaning: “have little value/impact/meaning”
Other Info: Sometimes, it is used to lower/humble oneself, as in the second example below.
Only quite obvious things are written in this book, and it serves as neither poison nor medicine
“In my blog, I write about something that doesn’t serve as poison or medicine. (≒ write about nothing special)”
(XYZ: noun/adj, X: its initial character/syllable)
Meaning “Buying cheap items ends up costing you a lot in the long run (as they are usually of poor quality and do not last long)”
Other info: Japanese proverb
Meaning: “a dream (during sleep) that becomes reality”
Last night, I had a dream of losing my wallet. I hope it won’t become reality.
Literal Meaning: “paper one layer”
Meaning: “(There is ) a paper-thin (yet distinct) line between two things”
“There is a paper-thin (and yet distinct) line between stupidity and genius”
Other Info: It is used when something happens that makes the situation even worse.彼氏に料理を作ったら「これだけ？」と言われ、挙げ句の果てには「お母さんのと味が違う」と言われた
I cooked for my bf but he said “Is this it?”, and in the end, he said “It tastes different from my mum’s one”
Meaning: “someone/something that used to be successful/valuable in the past still possesses or gives an inkling of their great talent/value/knowledge”
Even though he retired from professional football 10 years ago, he became the top scorer in an amateur football league this year. “It’s still a sea bream even if it has got rotten”.
Other Info: It is usually used as 出来(でき)立(た)てホヤホヤ “be just made and fresh” or 新婚(しんこん)ホヤホヤ “just married; (lovely) newlywed”
“A freshly-baked cake/company/book”
Meaning “pretend to be nicer than usual; hide one’s true colours”
She is always talking a lot of sh*t, but when she is with her boyfriend, she pretends to be a nice person.
Other Indo: For instance, it is going to be a ‘memorial exam’ if you take the JLPT N1 test armed with in-depth knowledge about anime and manga only
I took the admission tests for the University of Tokyo while thinking I was not gonna make it, and so I was very surprised that I passed.
Other Info: It is “reversed” in a way that you get angry when you are the one to be blamed. (cf) キレる: “get furious” 半(はん)ギレ: “half-angry”彼氏が浮気したことを責(せ)めたら、逆ギレされた。
Antonym: コテコテの関西弁 (“very thick Kansai-ben”)
Other Info: This is something that Kansai people hate more than anything else.
Hey you, stop that phoney Kansai-ben! Your intonation of “nandeyanen” is completely wrong!
The cat I’m having as a pet is not friendly to me at all.