Body Idioms Part I

Body Idioms

鼻が高い to be proud
顔が広い to know many people



There are many expressions which use body parts in Japanese. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Bulletin 鼻が高い



This literally means “one’s nose is high”.


But this isn’t Pinocchio in the fairy tale. ^^;
When you are proud of something, you raise your head, you think “ahem!,” and your nose goes up.
In English you say “hold your head up high”, or if you think someone is overproud, you say they are “snooty”. This is the origin of 鼻が高い.


鼻が高い means “to be proud of”


For example, when you get a good grade on your test:



My grade on the test was excellent and I’m proud of myself.


And even if it isn’t about yourself, you can feel pride. Like, if you have a younger brother who is good at sports:

My brother is an all-around sports player and I’m proud of him.



This literally means “one’s face is large”.


But it doesn’t actually mean having a big face.

If you know many people, or you have many relationships in many kinds of fields, you can use this expression.


顔が広い means “to know many people”


Tanaka san knows a lot of people and he is always being greeted everywhere he goes.

This may seem to mean he is a very sociable person, but 顔が広い and 社交的(しゃこうてき sociable) are not  equal.


Some people may be sociable, but they may not have many friends or acquaintances. People who are 顔が広い should know many people, but some might be 顔が広い in that they just have many people whom they know casually from work. Even if acquaintances aren’t very close, if there are many, you say 顔が広い.


If you have many おともだち on social networks on the internet, you could say you are 顔が広い.

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