蜥蜴の尻尾切り

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Japanese[edit]

Kanji in this term
Hyōgaiji Hyōgaiji Grade: S Grade: S
Grade: 2
Irregular Irregular kun’yomi

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): [to̞ka̠ɡe̞ no̞ ɕip̚po̞ kʲiɾʲi]
  • IPA(key): [to̞ka̠ɡe̞ no̞ ɕip̚po̞ ɡʲiɾʲi]

Etymology[edit]

Literally "cutting lizard's tail", 蜥蜴 (トカゲ) (tokage, lizard) + (no, possessive particle) + 尻尾 (しっぽ) (shippo, tail) +  () (kiri, cut). In the alternative pronunciation, きり becomes ぎり due to rendaku (連濁).

Noun[edit]

蜥蜴の尻尾切り (hiragana とかげのしっぽきり, rōmaji tokage no shippo kiri, alternative reading とかげのしっぽぎり, rōmaji tokage no shippo giri)

  1. (literally) the behavior of some lizards to drop their tail in order to escape a predator
  2. (idiomatic) passing the buck to a subordinate; making a underling carry the can
    • 2014, Yasuo Takeuchi, ‘Nihonjin rashisa’ to nani ka [What is ‘Japanese-seeming’?], page 21:
       () (しき)のトップは、 () (しき) (ぼう) (えい)するために () (にん)することが (おお)い。 [] トカゲの尻尾 (しっぽ) ()」ではなく、「トカゲの (あたま) ()り」「 (くび)のすげ ()え」によって () (しき) (ぼう) (えい)である。
      Soshiki no toppu wa, soshiki o bōei suru tame ni jinin suru koto ga ōi. [] Tokage no shippo giri” de wa naku, “tokage no atama kiri” “kubi no sugekae” ni yotte soshiki bōei dearu.
      Often the head of an organization will resign to protect the organization. [] Rather than “cutting the lizard’s tail”, this is defending the organization by “cutting the lizard’s head”, “swapping necks”.
    • 2015, Satoshi Tomisaka, Xi Jinping no tatakai: Chūgoku Kyōsantō no tenkanki [Xi Jinping’s fight: Turning point for the Communist Party of China], page 13:
      こうした () ()まりによって (くろ) (まく)ともいえる (おお) (もの) (かん) (りょう) (つか)まることはなく、たいていはトカゲのしっぽ () ()わっていた。
      Kō shita torishimari ni yotte kuromaku to mo ieru ōmono kanryō ga tsukamaru koto wa naku, taitei wa tokage no shippo giri de owatte-ita.
      In this type of crackdown, major bureaucrats who can be called fixers are never caught; someone usually ends up carrying the can.

References[edit]