気 (ki): energy, life force. A word you learned from Dragon Ball and any other battle anime. The hero will point somewhere along his stomach to chest area and explain that “this is where ki comes from.” While it may sound like 気 is a pretty unnecessary word to know, it is actually extremely common and is used to create a multitude of phrases. After all, one of the first phrases you learn “元気ですか – how are you” has it in it.
The phrases that use 気 seem to be all over the place with their creativity and unique form. And that’s why I love 気.
Literal translation: place your energy
Actual meaning: watch out, be careful
Literal translation: lose your energy
Actual meaning: become unconscious
Literal translation: make energy bad
Actual meaning: make someone feel uncomfortable, or unhappy
Literal translation: becomes energy
Actual meaning: something concerns you, something bothers you
Literal translation: there is energy, have energy
Actual meaning: have (romantic) interest in (someone)
Literal translation: use energy
Actual meaning: carefully assess a situation and act in a way that you aren’t bothering someone and are attending to someone else’s needs.
Literal translation: don’t make it energy
Actual meaning: don’t worry about it
And now you can handle your 気 like a pro. Any other interesting 気 phrase formations you know?
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.