四字熟語 4 Character Words

四字熟語 yoji jukugo 4 Character Sayings

以心伝心 Telepathy

Japanese proverbs

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以心伝心
Telepathy 

右往左往 Run about in Confusion

Japanese proverbs

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右往左往
Running around like a chicken with its head cut off

 

右往左往
Japanese
うおうさおう u ou sa ou
Literal
go right and left
English Equivalent
Running around like a chicken with its head cut off; go in all directions
Notes

Learning this 四字熟語 is a great way to remember the on readings of right and left. I don't know about you, but learning みぎ and ひだり seemed easy compared to remembering which was う and which was さ.

If you can remember 'right' goes first, saying this fun word will help clear up the confusion. u (right) ou sa (left) ou

右折 u setsu--a right turn (often heard by car navigation systems)
左折 sa setsu--a left turn

 


Example Sentence


突然の地震で人々は右往左往した。
totsuzen no jishin de hitobito wa uousaou shita.
A sudden earthquake caused the people to go in all directions.

 

Vocabulary image

突然の totsuzen no—sudden; unexpected
地震 jishin—earthquake
人々hito bito—people [The 々shows repetition of the previous kanji: 人人; Note the sound change on the second 'hito']
した shita—Use する with 右往左往

有頂天 Ecstasy

Japanese proverbs

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有頂天
Ecstasy  

 

有頂天
Japanese
うちょうてん u chou ten
Literal
Have (reached) the highest heaven
English Equivalent
On cloud nine; ecstasy; in raptures; be elated 
Notes

有頂天 is a translation of the sanskrit word for the highest heaven in Buddhism.

A 2005 star-studded comedy movie directed by 三谷幸喜 Mitani Koki was titled THE有頂天ホテル.

OK, it isn't a FOUR character 四字熟語! But it is still useful!

 


Example Sentence


一億円の宝くじをあてた人は有頂天になった。
ichi oku en no takarakuji o ateta hito wa uchouten ni natta.
The person who won the hundred million yen lottery was in ecstasy.

 

Vocabulary image

一億 ichi oku—100,000,000
宝くじ takara kuji—lottery
あてた ateta—hit the mark (for the lotter) [当ててみて atete mite Take a guess]
あてた人 ateta hito—the person who won (the lottery)
になった ni natta—になる

私利私欲 Greed

Japanese proverbs

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私利私欲
Greed; Self-Interest

 

私利私欲
Japanese
しりしよく shi ri shi yoku
Literal
Self-interest and selfish desire
English Equivalent
Motivated by greed
Notes

私 is the "I, me" pronoun watashi. Other common examples of using the し reading are:

私立学校 shiritsu gakkou Private school
私有 shi yuu Private ownership
私有地 shi yuu chi Private land
私的感情 shi teki kan jou Personal feelings

 


Example Sentence


私利私欲に駆られる。
shirishiyoku ni karareru.
To be driven by greed.

 

Vocabulary image

駆られる karareru—be driven by...; be carried away by (one's feelings); succumb to (curiosity); be assailed by (fears) [ from Kodansha's 新和英大辞典]

自画自賛 Singing one's own Praises

Japanese proverbs

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自画自賛
Singing One's Own Praises 

自画自賛
Japanese
じがじさん ji ga ji san
Literal
One's own picture; praising oneself
English Equivalent
Singing one's own Praises
Tooting one's own Horn
Notes

The 自 as you may guess adds the meaning of 'oneself.' You may know it from the common 自分 jibun 'oneself' and 自由 jiyuu 'freedom'

 


Example Sentence


自画自賛に聞こえるかもしれませんが、ぼくは本当に歌がうまいよ。
jigajisan ni kikoeru kamoshiremasen ga, boku wa hontou ni uta ga umai yo
It may sound like I'm bragging, but I'm really good at singing.

 

Vocabulary image

に聞こえる ni kikoeru—sounds like... [太くに見える futoku ni mieru - to look (appear) fat]
かもしれません kamoshiremasen—may; might; possibly
ga—but
ぼく boku—I (usually used with males)
本当に hontou ni—really; truly (adv)
uta—song [in this case singing in general]
うまい umai—good at; skillful; clever [can also be used with food or drink to mean 'delicious']

豪華絢爛 magnificent; luxurious and splendid

Japanese proverbs

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豪華絢爛
Magnificent; Luxurious and Splendid