Thursday, July 31, 2008



Here are a collection of commonly used phrases with the words 手 and 足:

手が空く: Just like it reads, "hands are open," i.e., you are free, not doing anything.

手が離せない: Again, just like it reads, "can't take hands away." This is used when expressing that you are occupied with something and can't do anything else.

手が足りない: "Not enough hands," in the ranch hand sense, not enough people, workers.

手に汗を握る: "Gripping sweat in hand." It's a euphemism for "being on the edge of your seat.

手を抜く: "Remove hand," or in other words, "cut corners."

手がかかる: "Takes hands," meaning to "have one's hands full with some chore."

手も足も出ない: "Can't put out hands or feet." Used to express being at a loss for what to do.

足の踏み場もない: "Not even a place to put feet." Pretty self-explanatory. Nowhere to stand, in the literal sense.

足が棒になる: "Legs become a staff." In English, we'd probably say the opposite, "Legs got rubbery," or tired.

足を引っ張る: "Pull legs." No joking, this actually means to hold someone or something back from realizing its potential. To obstruct.

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