CultureEssayEtymologyIdiomJapanese traditionKanjiUncorrected

Shinshō Boudai (針小棒大 – Making Mountains out of Molehills)

  • Yesterday, I introduced the Japanese idiom, “ohire wo tsukeru” (尾ひれを付ける), which menas to embellish or exaggerate a story using something that’s not true.


    Today I would like to talk about the Japanese four-character idiom, “shinshō boudai” (針小棒大), which has the similar meaning of “ohire wo tsukeru.”

    The “shin” (針) means “needle,” the “shō” (小) means “small,” the “bou” (棒) means “stick,” and the “dai” (大) means “big.”

    Therefore, this idiom means to talk about or express a small needle as if it would be a big stick.
    「針」は “needle,” 「小」は “small,” 「棒」は “stick,” 「大」は “big” を意味します。

    The usage example is: “Hanashi wo shinshō boudai ni iu” (話を針小棒大に言う – I talk about a story like shinshō boudai).

    Original sentence