Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Today's Japanese expression: 口が堅い

Two guys and a girl are sitting in a restaurant. The girl asks one of the guys whether or not he has a girlfriend. To that the other man says "It's no use to ask him about it", because 「あの人は口が堅いだから」.
Literally, 「口が堅い」 (くちがかたい) means "having a hard mouth". The proper meaning is "being tight-lipped", "being discreet", or "being able to keep a secret". So, in the conversation above, the one guy says "It's no use asking him about it, because he is tight-lipped, he won't speak about this subject".
How about the opposite of 「口が堅い」? You might expect "to have a soft mouth", 「口が柔らかい」(くちがやわらかい) but as far as I know there is no such expression. Instead they say 「口が軽い」(くちがかるい), which means literally "to have a light mouth", or in better English "to be talkative", "to have a loose tongue".

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  1. Hi,

    Is there a need for だ after 堅い?

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