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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

無理矢理

むりやり
muri yari

Well, you guys seem to have figured out that the way to keep us posting regularly is by telling us how awesome we are in the comments section... and by visiting regularly. Our site traffic has tripled over the last few months, we've found links to ourselves on websites we use and enjoy, and you've given us great motivation to keep on with our JLPT studies.

And since people have mentioned in the past that some Yo-ji is better than no Yo-ji, today I'm tossing up this ateji one for everyone to check out and enjoy.

I haven't had a whole lot of time lately because I'm working two jobs, and trying to organize a bunch of side projects as well (a flamenco night, a photo contest, and a kid's cooking class) so today I thought I could try to find a 四字熟語 that means "burning the candle at both ends." You know, going overboard and working as hard as you possibly can until you exhaust yourself. Unfortunately it seems that in Japanese, you just call that "being Japanese."

So in lieu of that, we have 無理矢理, which, as I mentioned is actually not a real 四字熟語. It's the ateji for the much more common 無理やり.

Definition:
無理と知りながら強引に物事を行うさま。
Translation:
1. Forcibly.
2. To do the unreasonable.
3. Against one's will.

Used most often to refer to "forcing oneself." "無理やりせんでいい" or the less casual "無理やりしないで下さい" get used to let people off the hook when it comes to things like finishing food or drinks, translating roughly as "You don't have to do the impossible..."

無理やり食べる gets used a lot, but be careful, it doesn't just mean "eating too much," it includes the idea of eating something, or an amount, that you don't want to, 7even style.

It can also be used to talk about overwork, canceling personal plans to do someone else a favor, things like that.

As an added bonus, here's a few idiomatic uses of 無理やり:

無理やり押し込む:To force into, or to wedge into. This is what you would do to a square peg that you had to get into a round hole.

きついT-シャツを無理やり着る:Squeeze yourself into a tiny-t-shirt. You could probably use this with pants too...

ズボンを無理やり脱がせる:To depants someone! (Or to pants someone, which means the same thing, right?)

4 comments:

Matt said...

I don't think I've ever noticed someone using 無理やり, but I do hear 無理にしないで and other variations. I wonder if it's an issue of regional use (I live in central Japan). I'll keep an ear out for it now that I know it. I'll probably hear it everywhere now.

By the way, are you guys familiar with kotonoha.cc? I just stumbled across it and found it to be a nice source of colloquialisms. Also a nice place to find people's 本音 in regards to various issues.

SashTheRed said...

Yeah, I visit here quite a lot, although I don't comment as much.
Actually, considering this ateji, although Matt said he haven't heard it, I actually hear it quite a lot in variety shows and such. Wasn't sure what it meant. Glad to know now.
Thanks a lot :)

Claytonian said...

I actually encountered it today: http://portal.nifty.com/2009/03/18/a/

Emi said...

Like Matt said, I think people say "無理しないでください" rather than "無理やりしないでください" in conversation.

As for "burn the candle at both ends," we can say "疲労困憊するまで働く" in Japanese. 疲労困憊 must be a good one to know.