Houfuku Zettou (抱腹絶倒 – Holding One’s Stomach and Laughing)

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    Houfuku Zettou


    Have you ever had a big laugh enough to roll around a floor?

    To describe such a laugh, you can use the four-character idiom ‘houfuku zettou‘ (抱腹絶倒).

    Hou‘ (抱) means “to fold something,” ‘fuku‘ (腹) means “stomach,” ‘ze/zetsu‘ (絶) means “very” or “surely,” and ‘tou‘ (倒) means “to turn over,” so the literal meaning of this idiom is “someone turns over while holding his/her stomach.”
    「抱」は “to hold something”、「腹」は “stomach”、「絶」は “very/surely”、「倒」は “to turn over” を意味するので、この熟語の文字通りの意味は “someone turns over while holding his/her stomach” となります。

    Originally, another kanji 捧 (meaning “to hold something with both hands”) was used instead of 抱.

    However, since 抱 was more common and was widely used, 捧腹絶倒 changed to 抱腹絶倒.

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