Animal Proverbs

Japanese proverbs

A list of proverbs involving animals.

一石二鳥 Killing two Birds with one Stone

Japanese proverbs

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一石二鳥
Kill Two Birds with One Stone

一石二鳥
Japanese
いっ せき に ちょう isseki ni chou
Literal
One stone; two birds
English Equivalent
Killing two birds with one stone.
Notes

This is one of the few proverbs that is almost exactly the same as a famous English proverb.

一石 isseki - One stone [The ichi adds a small っ; another common pronunciation for stone is ishi]
二鳥 ni chou - Two birds [an on reading for bird is chou]




Example Sentence


演歌を聞くと、日本の文化に触れながら日本語の勉強ができるので、一石二鳥だ。
enka o kiku to, nihon no bunka ni furenagara nihongo no benkyou ga dekiru node, isseki nichou.
Listening to enka, I learn about Japanese culture and I am able to study Japanese at the same time. I kill two birds with one stone.

 

Vocabulary image

演歌 enka - traditional Japanese popular music style
聞くと kiku to - when listening...
日本の文化 nihon no bunka - Japanese culture
触れながら furenagara - while experiencing; ながら means 'while'
日本語 nihongo - Japanese language
勉強 benkyou - study
日本語の勉強 nihongo no benkyou - studying Japanese
できる dekiru - can; able
ので node - therefore
da - plain form of です; copula

猫に小判 Give a Cat a Gold Coin

Japanese proverbs

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猫に小判
Cast Pearls to a Swine

 

猫に小判
Japanese
ねこ に こばん neko ni koban
Literal
Give money to a cat
English Equivalent
To cast pearls before swine
Notes
猫に neko ni (give) to a cat [に shows direction]; A 小判 koban was an oval gold coin used during the Edo period; 豚に真珠 buta ni shinju Pearls to a pig, from the Bible, is also used often and means basically the same thing.

 


Example Sentence


宝石に興味のない人にダイヤモンドを上げても、猫に小判だ。
houseki ni kyoumi no nai hito ni daiyamondo o agetemo, neko ni koban da.
For someone who has no interest in precious stones, even giving him a diamond would be casting pearls before swine.

 

Vocabulary image

宝石 houseki—precious stones, gems
興味のない人 kyoumi no nai hito—a person not interested in...
ダイヤモンド daiyamondo—diamond
上げても agete mo—even if (you give him a diamond)

猿も木から落ちる Even Monkeys Fall from Trees

Japanese proverbs

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猿も木から落ちる
Even Monkeys fall from Trees

猿も木から落ちる
Japanese
さるも き から おちる saru mo ki kara ochiru
Literal
Even monkeys fall from trees.
English Equivalent
Everyone makes mistakes.
Notes

One of the most famous Japanese proverbs out there!

猿も saru mo - Even a Monkey
木から ki kara - from a tree
落ちる ochiru - to fall


The example sentence (not to be taken too seriously), is more for intermediates: