BusinessCultureEssayEtymologyIdiomJapanese traditionKanjiProverbUncorrected

Moto mo Ko mo nai (元も子もない – Losing Everything/Makes No Sense)

  • Moto mo Ko mo nai


    When you lose everything or an original purpose, we express the situation using the Japanese phrase 元も子もない (moto mo ko mo nai).

    元 (moto) means 元金 (gankin – “principal”) and 子 (ko) means 利子 (rishi – “interest”).

    Also, the expression AもBもない (A mo B mo nai) means “There is neither A nor B.”
    そして「AもBもない」という表現は、”There is neither A nor B” という意味です。

    That is to say, the literal meaning of “moto mo ko mo nai” is “There are neither principals nor interests.”

    Originally, this phrase meant a situation where you not only couldn’t earn interests but also lose your principal as a result of an investment.

    This usage was extended, and it has come to be used when expressing that you lose the original significance or purpose.

    Original sentence