CorrectedCultureEssayEtymologyIdiomJapanese traditionLanguage

Kao wo Tateru (顔を立てる – Saving Face)

  • Kao wo Tateru


    To act in a way that preserves someone’s honor or dignity is described as the Japanese idiom kao wo tateru (顔を立てる).

    Kao (顔) means “face,” and tateru (立てる) means “to stand up” or “to raise up,” so the literal meaning of kao wo tateru is “to raise up someone’s face.”
    「顔」は “face”、「立てる」は “to stand/raise up” を意味するので、「顔を立てる」の文字どおりの意味は “to raise up someone’s face” となります。

    In this idiom, kao is used as a metaphor for one’s honor or dignity.

    In other words, kao wo tateru means to raise up someone’s honor or dignity so that it does not fall and become damaged.

    In English, it can be expressed as “to save face.”
    英語では “to save face” のように表現されます。

    Original sentence