Shippo wo Dasu (尻尾を出す – Revealing One’s Secret Unintentionally)


  • Shippo wo Dasu

    尻尾を出す


    Yesterday, I introduced you to the idion ‘boro ga deru‘ (ぼろが出る), which means to reveal one’s secret faults/weaknesses unintentionally.
    昨日は、欠点が不意に出てしまうことを意味する「ぼろが出る」という慣用句を紹介しました。

    There is another idiom, ‘shippo wo dasu‘ (尻尾を出す), which has the similar meaning of this.
    これと似た慣用句に、「尻尾を出す」があります。

    Shippo‘ (尻尾) means “tail” and ‘dasu‘ (出す) means “to come out” or “to reveal,” so the literal meaning of ‘shippo wo dasu’ is “to reveal one’s tail.”
    「尻尾」は “tail,” 「出す」は “to come out” や “to reveal” を意味するので、「尻尾を出す」の文字通りの意味は “to reveal one’s tail” となります。

    Here, the tail represents the tail of a raccoon dog or fox — Japanese people have believed that raccoon dogs and foxes deceive people by changing their figure.
    ここでの「尻尾」は、化けて人を騙すと信じられている狸や狐の尻尾を表しています。

    Even if they change their figure into something else, you can detect the truth by seeing their tail, so ‘shippo wo dasu’ has come to mean that someone reveals his/her secret unintentionally.
    狸や狐が何かに化けていても、尻尾を出してしまうとその正体がばれてしまうことから、「尻尾を出す」は「隠していたことが不意に露見する」という意味を持つようになりました。

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