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Body part idioms

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This isn't done. Please feel free to add example sentences, improve the translations or play with the formatting.


There are a large number of idioms in Japanese that use body parts. This page will collect a few of them. Feel free to add more examples.



  • 耳が遠い mimi ga tooi - lit. ears are far - hard of hearing
ojiisan wa mimi ga tooi ga, tama ni mushi suru koto ga aru.
(My) Grandfather is hard of hearing, but sometimes he just ignores things.
motto ookina koe de hanashitekuremasenka. watashi wa mimi ga tooi n desu.
Could you speak up please? I'm hard of hearing.
  • 耳が痛い mimi ga itai - lit. ears hurt - when something someone says hits home. In otherwords, whether it was intended to be or not, the words work on the person's conscience.
anta no iu koto wa itsumo mimi ga itai.
You always say things to make me feel guilty.
  • 耳が早い mimi ga hayai - lit. ears are fast - someone hears news or gossip surprisingly fast.
yamada san wa seiji no koto wa nanimo shiranai kuseni, kinjo no uwasa ni wa mimi ga hayai.
Yamada knows not a thing about politics, but when it comes neighborhood gossip, she hears it first.


  • 目から鱗が落ちる me kara uroko ga ochiru - lit. scales fall from eyes - suddenly be able to see the real situation/understand something - see the light (From Bible)
sensei no hanashi o kiite, me kara uroko ga ochita.
After hearing the teacher's talk, scales fell from (my) eyes.
  • 目に入れても痛くない me ni iretemo itakunai - lit. even if poke in eye doesn't hurt - too cute
hatsu mago wa me ni iretemo itakunai hodo kawaii.
The first grandchild is so cute you can poke your eye out. (idiom doesn't really work in English!)
  • ○○に目がない ○○ ni me ga nai - lit. (he) has no eyes when it comes to ○○ - to be fond of
an wa chokore-to ni me ga nai.
Ann has a weakness for chocolate.
  • 目は口ほどに物を言う


  • 鼻が高い hana ga takai - lit. nose is high - prideful
  • 鼻が利く
  • 鼻が曲がる
  • 鼻っ柱が強い
  • 鼻につく
  • 鼻の下を伸ばす


  • 口が軽い kuchi ga karui - lit. loose mouth - talk too much; tell secrets
kare wa kuchi ga karui node, himitsu wa hanasanai hou ga ii
He has a loose tongue, so it would be better to not tell him secrets.

(Also see: [1])

  • 口に合う kuchi ni au - lit. mouth fits - to like something (particularly food, but not only food)
okuchi ni aimasu ka dou ka
It may not be to your liking but...
  • 口が滑る


  • 顔が広い kao ga hiroi - lit. face is wide - well known
kono machi dewa kare wa kao ga hiroi.
In this town, he is pretty well known.
  • 顔パス kao pasu - lit. face pass - recognized by just being seen and allowed into something exclusive (Is this still in use? May be 死語)
  • 顔を潰す
  • 顔をつなぐ
  • 顔を貸す
  • 顔を立てる

  • 首が回らない
  • 首がつながる
  • 首ったけ
  • 首っ引き
  • 首をかしげる



  • 腹黒い hara guroi - lit. black stomach - scheming, treacherous
  • 腹八分 hara hachi bu - lit. stomach 80% - moderation in eating (note the pronunciation is hara hachi bu - no N)
  • 太っ腹 futoppara - lit. fat belly - generous, gives/spends a lot
  • 腹が立つ hara ga tatsu - lit. stomach stands - angry
  • 腹に据えかねる hara ni sue kaneru
  • 片腹痛い kata hara itai - lit. pair stomach painful - rediculous


  • 足が棒になる ashi ga bou ni naru - lit. legs become sticks - Legs/feet extremely tired from walking or standing too long - 'My dogs are barking'
fujisan ni nobotta node, ashi ga bou ni narimashita.
Climbing Mt. Fuji (not Mr.) made my legs very tired.
  • 膝が笑う hiza ga warau - lit. lap (legs) laughs - tired from walking or standing

  • 尻に敷く oshiri ni shiku - Husband follows wife's commands
kare wa totemo maccho dakedo, jitsu wa okusan no shiri ni shikareteiru.
He looks real macho, but in reality his wife's the boss.
  • 尻の毛まで抜かれる
  • 尻つぼみ
  • 尻拭いをする

  • ケツの穴が小さい

その他 Others

  • 歯に衣着せぬ ha ni kinu kisenu - Say something frankly
  • 爪の垢を煎じて飲む
  • 爪に火をともす
  • 舌の根も乾かぬうちに
  • 眉をひそめる
  • 眉をくもらせる
  • 眉に唾をつける (眉唾物)
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