CultureEssayEtymologyFoodIdiomJapanese traditionProverbSlangUncorrected

Tsuba wo Tsukeru (唾をつける)

  • There is a Japanese idiom, “tsuba wo tsukeru” (唾をつける).


    The “tsuba” (唾) means “spit” and the “tsukeru” (つける) means “to put on,” so the literal meaning of the combination is “to put your spit on something.”

    Originally this idiom was mainly used for food.
    「唾」は “spit,” 「つける」は “to put on” を意味するので、「唾をつける」の文字通りの意味は “to put your spit on” です。

    Just imagine – you don’t want to eat food wet with someone’s spit, do you?

    Therefore, “tsuba wo tsukeru” means to do something in advance in order to prevent other people from getting what you want.

    Incidentally, if you add “mayuni” (眉に – on your eyebrow) and say “mayuni tsuba wo tsukeru” (or “mayutsuba” for short), the meaning will differ substantially from this idiom.

    You can check the meaning of “mayutsuba” on the following URL.

    Original sentence