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Katazu wo Nomu (固唾を呑む – Bating One’s Breath)

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    Katazu wo Nomu


    I am sometimes concerned about what is going to happen and wait with bated breath.

    Such an action is referred to as ‘katazu wo nomu‘ (固唾を呑む).

    Kata‘ (固) means “firm,” ‘zu‘ (唾) means “saliva,” and ‘nomu‘ (呑む) means “to swallow” or “to drink,” so the literal meaning of this phrase is “to swallow one’s firm saliva.”
    「固」は “firm”、「唾」は “saliva”、「呑む」は “swallow/drink” を意味するので、この表現の文字どおりの意味は “to swallow one’s firm saliva” となります。

    Here, ‘katazu‘ (固唾 – literally “firm saliva”) is saliva that accumulates in your mouth when you are nervous.

    If you are concerning about what is going to happen, you probably swallow your ‘katazu’.

    Because of this, ‘katazu wo nomu’ came to have its current meaning.

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