Nezi wo Maku (ねじを巻く – Rolling up One’s Sleeves)

  • Neji wo Maku


    When making someone/oneself improve their/one’s loose attitudes, it is called neji wo maku (ねじを巻く) in Japanese.

    Neji (ねじ) means “screw,” maku (巻く) means “to wind something,” so the literal meaning of neji wo maku is “to screw up” or “to tighten a screw.”
    「ねじ」は “screw” 、「巻く」は “to wind something” を意味するため、「ねじを巻く」の文字通りの意味は “to screw up” です。

    If you tighten a screw, of course, a loose state will be tightened.

    This idiom is comparing the loose state with people’s loose attitudes or feelings.

    It is an interesting fact that this Japanese idiom has the positive meaning, whereas the English term “to screw up” can mean “to mess up.”
    日本語の「ねじを巻く」は良い意味なのに対し、英語の “screw up” は「台無しにする」ことを意味する事実は、とても興味深いです。

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