CultureEssayEtymologyIdiomJapanese traditionKanjiProverbUncorrected

Iki wo Korosu (息を殺す – Holding/Bating One’s Breath)

  • Iki wo Korosu


    If you don’t want anyone to find you, you will keep your body still and depress breathing.

    Such an act is called 息を殺す (iki wo korosu) in Japanese.

    息 (iki) means “breath” and 殺す (korosu) means “to kill,” so the literal meaning of this “iki wo korosu” is “to kill one’s breath.”
    「息」は “breath,” 「殺す」は “to kill” を意味するので、「息を殺す」の文字通りの意味は “to kill one’s breath” となります。

    It is thought that this idiom comes from the fact that if you kill (stop) your breath, it will be very quiet.

    Also, some thought that the etymology is that “iki” means “life” or “soul,” and if you kill it, it will be very quiet.

    Original sentence