Yubi wo Kuwaeru (指をくわえる – Enviously)

  • Yubi wo Kuwaeru


    When you can’t do anything while feeling envious of something, it can be described as ‘yubi wo kuwaeru’ (指をくわえる) in Japanese.

    Yubi‘ (指) means “finger” and ‘kuwaeru‘ (くわえる) means “to suck” or “to put in,” the literal meaning of “yubi wo kuwaeru” is “to suck one’s finger.”
    「指」は “finger”、「くわえる」は “to suck/to put in” を意味するので、「指をくわえる」の文字通りの意味は “to suck one’s finger” となります。

    Here, in particular, the finger means “index finger.”

    This phrase comes from the fact that children suck their index finger when they can’t get what they want.

    [Example] Kare wa yubi wo kuwaete sono shouhin wo miteita (彼は指をくわえてその商品を見ていた – “He looked enviously at that product.”)

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