Tenohira wo Kaesu (手のひらを返す - Turning a 180)

  • 133
  • 3
  • 2
  • English 
May 27, 2019 20:10 English essay
Tenohira wo Kaesu

I often find people who do an act called 'tenohira wo kaesu' (手のひらを返す).

Since 'tenohira' (手のひら/掌) means "palm" and 'kaesu' (返す) means "to turn something over," the literal meaning of 'tenohira wo kaesu' is "to turn over one's palm."

Actually, this idiom means to make a 180-degree turn in attitude or wording because of some events.

Originally, it was used to mean that something is easy to change, but later, this came to be used to indicate human's behavior.


「手のひら」は "palm"、「返す」は "to turn something over" を意味するので、「手のひらを返す」の文字どおりの意味は "to turn one's palm over" となります。