Japanese idioms, put into picture form..

Do you know any Japanese idioms?

For example, "目がない (me ga nai)".
This means 'to really like, or to have a weakness for, something.'
It's used like this: "実は、わたし、ケーキに目がないんです."
(jitsu wa, watashi, keeki ni me ga naindesu - Truth be told, I absolutely love cakes)
Of course, it doesn't mean that the speaker's eyes have actually disappeared from their face.
However...


There's a person out there who has actually put into picture form a number of Japanese idioms that use facial features.
Take a look at Neji Sato's site, 八百一彦 ('yaoichihiko', in romaji).
There are 16 facial idioms arranged in rows.



Click on the the first of these, '目を丸くする' (me o maruku suru - literally, to make one's eyes round), and a separate window displaying a face will be shown.
Click on that face and...



The eyes actually become circular!


That's a bit creepy...


Of course, when used in everyday Japanese, the phrase "目を丸くする" doesn't really mean someone's eyes actually become round (although it would be fun if it did).
Do you know what it does really mean?

Why not try looking up the real meanings of the 16 idioms using the online dictionaries introduced here on NIHONGO eな?
It might be close to what you imagine, seeing the pictures, or it might be very different!


There are 5 dictionaries you can use.
If you don't know how to use the dictionaries, try reading our introduction articles on each.

英辞郎 on the WEB (Introduction article)
Tangorin.com (Introduction article)
Denshi Jisho (Introduction article)
NIHONGO de CARE-NAVI (Introduction article)
Sanseido Web Dictionary (Introduction article)


Each dictionary has its own special features.
As you look up the 16 different idioms,
please try to discover the dictionary you find suits you best.
We'll give you the reading for each idiom,
plus an example of a dictionary you might like to use to look it up, below.
Try entering the reading on the top screen of the dictionary to use it.


  1. 目を丸くする (めをまるくする)  英辞郎 on the WEB
  2. 目が回る (めがまわる)  Tangorin.com
  3. 目が点になる (めがてんになる)  Denshi Jisho
  4. 目を離す (めをはなす)   NIHONGO de CARE-NAVI
  5. 目じゃない (めじゃない)   Tangorin.com
  6. 鼻の下を伸ばして (はなのしたをのばして)  英辞郎 on the WEB
  7. 口を封じる (くちをふうじる)   英辞郎 on the WEB
  8. 歯が浮く (はがうく)   Sanseido Web Dictionary
  9. 耳を揃える (みみをそろえる)   Denshi Jisho
  10. ほっぺたが落ちる (ほっぺたがおちる)  Sanseido Web Dictionary
  11. 頭が回る (あたまがまわる)  英辞郎 on the WEB (Actually, 頭が回らない(あたまがまわらない) is more widely used, so you might try looking up that phrase instead)
  12. 頭が重い (あたまがおもい)  NIHONGO de CARE-NAVI
  13. 顔が広い (かおがひろい)   Denshi Jisho
  14. 面が割れる (めんがわれる)  Sanseido Web Dictionary
  15. 顔を揃える (かおをそろえる)   英辞郎 on the WEB
  16. 顔を貸す (かおをかす)  Tangorin.com

Did you get all the meanings?
It's a big help if you can find an easy-to-use dictionary that suits you well.

Actually, it's fun just to look at the face screens on this site.
Our personal favourite was the image for "目が点になる"...


That one looks a bit like me...

Last update 2010.05.06

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