CultureEssayIdiomJapanese traditionKanjiProverbUncorrected

Kujū wo Nameru (苦汁を嘗める – Having a Bitter Experience)

  • Kujū wo Nameru


    To have bitter experiences or unpleasant feelings can be described as kujū wo nameru (苦汁を嘗める) in Japanese.

    Since ku (苦) means “bitter,” (汁) means “juice,” and nameru (嘗める) means “to lick,” the literal meaning of kujū wo nameru is “to lick the bitter juice.”
    「苦」は “bitter”、「汁」は “juice”、「嘗める」は “to lick” を意味するので、「苦汁を嘗める」の文字どおりの意味は “to lick the bitter juice” となります。

    Licking something bitter is typically an unpleasant experience, which is why this idiom has its current meaning.

    You can also use shinsan (辛酸 – meaning “hardship”) instead of kujū (苦汁 – meaning “bitter juice”) and say shinsan wo nameru (辛酸を嘗める), which holds a very similar meaning to kujū wo nameru.

    Original sentence