If you always break your New Year’s resolution within three days, you’re absolutely a 三日坊主.
Definition of Mikka Bouzu
三日坊主 (みっかぼうず, mikka bouzu) is a famous Japanese idiom that literally means “three-day monk”. It figuratively means to quit something that you started a couple of days ago (usually to improve yourself, such as going to a gym and studying a new language; see the list of examples below). Originally, this word illustrates a person who aims to become a 坊主 (bouzu, “Japanese monk”) and yet gives in to the ascetic practices within three days. Although the idiom says “three-day”, you can describe any type of activity that you keep doing only for a short period of time.
Examples of Mikka Bouzu
People usually end up being 三日坊主 when they start something that is easy to start but hard to continue, such as:
- Going to a gym
- Waking up early in the morning
- Learning a new language
- Going on a diet
- Quitting smoking/drinking
Other Meanings of 坊主 (Bouzu)
Since monks in Japan usually shave their head, the word 坊主 (ぼうず) also refers to a buzz cut, as in 坊主頭 meaning “bouzu (shaved) head”. Some fashion magazines also call very short hairstyles オシャレ坊主’ (“fashionable bouzu hairstyle”), although this term may not sound acceptable for people with a bona fide shaved hair.
Figuratively, 坊主 also means when you go fishing and don’t catch any fish at all, as in “今日は坊主だった” meaning ‘Today, I was bouzu (caught no fish)’. Among old people, 坊主 is also used when they talk to a kid in a somewhat condescending manner, as in “おい坊主, ここで何してる” meaning “Hey bouzu (kid), what are you doing here?”– this is because a lot of kids in Japan shaved their heads many years ago.
He always quits very soon what he starts.
Since I started doing early morning runs, I’ll try not to be “a three-day monk”.
synonyms: 飽きっぽい, 飽き性 (be easily bored)
synonyms in English: get easily bored, quitter, procrastinator
Related Words: 三日 (みっか) three days, 坊主 (ぼうず) monk, skinhead hairstyle