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Volume 5: The Great いらず Collection

'Kotoba zamurai' articles are written to be 'a non-systematic approach to learning unusual, but useful words.' While these not-so-serious articles are written with the upper-beginner to intermediate in mind, even beginners should be able to get something out of them. If not, I may have wasted 15 minutes of your life... I will leave it up to you to take the chance.


Volume 5: The Great いらず Collection

The Great いらず Collection
On a Kitty-chan theme

Today we will look at a few set or idiomatic phrases using いらず don't need.

The -ず ending is another way to negate verbs. So いらず = いらない (don't need)

Just the Facts Ma'am

1) 猫いらず - rat poison; lit. don't need a cat;

2) 医者いらず - aloe plant; lit. don't need a doctor

3) 水いらず - just family; lit. water not entered

Help me Rhonda

1) 猫いらず - rat poison; lit. don't need a cat;

What are cats good for other than catching rats? But now that we have rat poison no one will ever need another cat again! At least that is what we would conclude if we only had this phrase as a gauge for what Japanese think of cats.

Example:
失業中のキティちゃんは絶望した。なぜなら、猫いらずは猫のえさより安いからだ。
An out of work Hello Kitty is depressed. The reason: rat poison is cheaper than cat food.


2) 医者いらず - aloe plant; lit. don't need a doctor

Hey, it is much cheaper than a medical school degree!

This is specifically a nickname for the 木立アロエ plant. Since I don't know much about plants, here is a link with a picture.

Example: [Warning: a little disturbing for those fans of Hello Kitty...]
「医者要らず?そのとおりよ。」とキティちゃんは思いながら、飼い主帰るまで爪を研ぎました
"Don't need a doctor? Sure, that's right", thought Hello Kitty as she sharpened her claws and awaited her master.


3) 水いらず - just family; lit. water not entered

Unlike the first two, this いらず actually has a different kanji. It is 入らず which means "to not enter." The other いらず IS 要らず which means "not needed."

Water, here, means something in the way 邪魔物. So having 'no obstacles in the way' lets families relax and enjoy being by themselves.

Variation:
夫婦水入らず just a husband and wife

Example:
東京破壊してから、ゴジラはキティちゃんに向かって、「水入らずでいいですね。」といいました。
Having destroyed Tokyo, Godzilla turned to Hello Kitty and said, "It's nice to be finally alone."

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