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

  • Shippo wo Dasu


    The other day I introduced you to the idiom boro ga deru (ぼろが出る), which means to reveal one’s secret faults/weaknesses unintentionally.

    There is another idiom, shippo wo dasu (尻尾を出す), which has a similar meaning to this.

    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.

    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.

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