CultureEssayEtymologyIdiomJapanese traditionProverbUncorrected

Iwanu ga Hana (言わぬが花 – Silence Is Gold)

  • Iwanu ga Hana


    Sometimes it is better to be modest and say less rather than saying everything that comes to mind.

    The proverb iwanu ga hana (言わぬが花) describes such a situation.

    Since iwa/iu (言わ/言う) means “to say,” nu (ぬ) is a negative suffix, and hana (花) means “flower,” the literal meaning of iwanu ga hana is “to say nothing is a flower.”
    「言わ/言う」は “to say”、「ぬ」は否定語、「花」は “flower” を意味するので、「言わぬが花」の文字どおりの意味は “to say nothing is a flower” です。

    In other words, by deliberately not saying anything (or saying less), one can create a modest and graceful atmosphere like a flower.

    A similar English proverb is “Speech is silver, silence is golden.”
    よく似た英語のことわざに、”Speech is silver, silence is gold” (雄弁は銀、沈黙は金) があります。

    Original sentence