October 15, 2023

Using とりあえず For Now

Using とりあえず

Whether you're in a legally dubious line of work or you've just been watching way too many crime movies, here’s a scenario you might find helpful:

Imagine, for a moment, you're on the run. The city lights blur as you weave through Tokyo's neon maze, pursued by the relentless gaze of the law. You've just masterminded the ultimate heist, and now the heat is on. You need to slip away, unseen, until the coast is clear.

Quick! How would you say the following in Japanese?

“For the time being, I’ll lay low here until the heat dies down.”

Well, we'll get to that in a moment, but for now, I'll just tell you the term とりあえず comes to the rescue!

This handy Japanese adverbial expression conveys the idea of doing something temporarily or as a stopgap measure. It's all about taking an action that's not necessarily the endgame but works as a quick fix in the moment.


The term とりあえず has three main usages:

  • For the time being, for now
  • Setting other things aside, primarily or firstly
  • Without a moment's delay, immediately

The first meaning (for the time being) is the most used. With these three overall usages in mind, here are a few common translations:

  • For now
  • For the time being
  • Just in case
  • Temporarily
  • First of all
  • At the moment
  • Provisionally
  • In the meantime
  • To start with
  • As a stopgap

In other words, the phrase is often used when a person wants to prioritize one action before considering others, or when a temporary or quick solution is needed.


「とりあえず」 comes from the idiom 「()(もの)()()えず」 which means “without a moment’s delay” or “leaving everything else unattended to.” In other words, there are times when you have to leave without being able to take something important. For example, when there’s a fire or earthquake or you have to flee because the law is on your tail.

Example Sentences:


I’ll start off with a beer.

  • とりあえず for now; for the time being
  • ビール beer [Borrowed from English]

This is an almost clichéd phrase but often used at drinking establishments. The implication is you’ll order something else (possibly what you really want) later after you have time to think about it.


For now, please evacuate to a safe place.

  • とりあえず for now; for the time being
  • 安全(あんぜん)な safe [安全(あんぜん) (safety) + な (adjective marker)]
  • 場所(ばしょ) place; location
  • に to [direction marker]
  • 避難(ひなん)して evacuate [Te-form of 避難(ひなん)する (to evacuate)]
  • ください please [Honorific, adds politeness]


For the time being, we need to solve this problem.

  • とりあえず for the time being; first of all [commonly used to focus on immediate actions]
  • この this
  • 問題(もんだい) problem; issue
  • を [direct object marker]
  • 解決(かいけつ)する to solve; to resolve
  • しなければなりません must do; have to do [negative conditional form + necessity expression]


First, I’ll try getting in touch with him.

  • とりあえず for the time being; first of all
  • (かれ) he; him
  • に to; for [indicates direction or target]
  • 連絡(れんらく)する to contact; get in touch with
  • してみます I’ll try doing


Let's wait here for now until the rain stops.

  • とりあえず for the time being; first of all
  • (あめ) rain
  • が [subject marker]
  • ()む to stop
  • まで until
  • ここ here
  • で at; in [location marker]
  • ()ちましょう let's wait [polite volitional form of ()つ (to wait)]

And here’s what you’ve been waiting for. Returning to our original question, how would you say, “For the time being, I’ll lay low here until the heat dies down”?


For the time being, I’ll lay low here until the heat dies down.

  • ほとぼりが()める A phrase that literally means "until the heat cools down," but is used idiomatically to mean "until things blow over" or "until the situation calms down."
  • とりあえず For the time being; for now
  • ここで Here
  • ()(かく)す To hide oneself; to lay low.
  • つもり intend to

Related Words

  • ひとまず: Used when you want to do something as a preliminary or temporary measure. It can be translated as "for now" or "for the time being." For example, "ひとまずこれで()わります" means "I'll finish this for now."
  • ()()たって: Used when addressing an immediate or pressing situation. It can be translated as "for the time being" or "for the moment." It implies dealing with something urgently. For instance, "()()たって、これをやらなければならない" means "I have to do this for the time being."
  • (なに)はさておき: This phrase is used when you want to set something aside for the moment and focus on another matter. It can be translated as "putting aside" or "leaving aside." For example, "(なに)はさておき、(さき)にこれをやります" means "Leaving that aside, I'll do this first."

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