CultureEssayEtymologyIdiomJapanese traditionKanjiUncorrected

The Meaning of “まめ

  • Today, I’d like to introduce a Japanese word “まめ.”

    If this word was written in kanji, such as “豆,” it would mean “bean.”

    However, we sometimes use it as a prefix, and then the meaning is “small.”

    For example, we use it like “豆知識(まめちしき:bits of knowledge),” “豆電球(まめでんきゅう:fairy lights),” “豆鉄砲(まめでっぽう:popgun).”

    “まめ” has also the adjective meaning of “dedicated” or “organized.”

    If “まめ” was used as an adjective meaning, it would include various good meanings.

    If we say “あなたはまめな人だね(you’re an dedicated person),” this will mean praise, but don’t say “あなたはまめのような人だね(You’re a person like bean).”

    “あなたはまめのような人だね” means something like “you’re a small person” or “you’re an intolerant person.”

    Incidentally, “まめ” also means “blister” and “foot corn.”

    Original sentence