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  • Hi there,

    I’ve been studying by going through kanji and picked 3-5 interesting words or phrases and writing them down to memorize and ran across this expression:


    jlearn.net and Jisho.org both define this expression as “to be on the brink of death” with no other listed definitions. (i.e. https://jisho.org/search/tansekinisemaru). My wife is Japanese but has lived in the US for ~ 20 years. She has not heard of this expression meaning anything related to death, and when she searched in Japanese language dictionaries, the meaning was more generally related to an urgent situation or crisis that was imminent. Do you know why the Japanese – English dictionaries define this expression explicitly as being near death and would most Japanese people understand this expression differently? Thank you!

    • Same with Yumi. She didn’t recognize it. But as your wife said, it seems to mean more like “crisis is imminent” or something. Jisho.org is based on Jim Breen’s amazing open-source dictionary. It is awesome and incredibly useful, but occasionally has rare or archaic sayings that aren’t really in use.

      But I totally feel you. I’ve done the same thing. I’ve found really cool sounding words or phrases only to find Yumi scratching her head when I’ve tried them out. 🙂

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