四字熟語3:大器小用

This is the third entry of weekly updated (bilingual) lessons on one of my favorite parts of the Japanese language, 四字熟語(よ・じ・じゅく・ご).  To sum up, these are four character idiomatic compounds. And that’s all you really need to know to get started. So, let’s go!

ご紹介 (Introduction):

 

本日の四字熟語は、「大器小用」。

Today’s four character compound is 大器小用.

大  たい   big

器  き   tool/ability

小     しょう  little/small

用    よう  use

 

大器は大きな器量を表わし、小用は小さく用いること。つまり、大きな器を小さな事に使うという意味を持ちます。

という訳で、この四字熟語は才能の優れた者を使い熟せないことを意味します。

大器 signifies ability, while 小用 is the concept of using only  a little bit of something.  In other words, 大器小用 is the act of using something with great ability for a small role.

To sum up, the meaning of this compound is the inability to use a person of great talent to their full ability.  A waste of talent, if you will.

例文 (Example Sentences):

彼程の実力者が子供向け番組どまりなんて大器小用である。 It is a waste of talent for a person that influential to be limited to just children’s shows.

大器小用に不満の声が上がる。

 

Explanation and one example sentence transcribed from the おそらく役立つ四字熟語講座 podcast.

Author: Koyami

I'm Koyami. I am a freelance Japanese-English Translator and I enjoy learning new skills and reading in my spare time. Current pursuits include juggling, piano, and collecting all of the 十二国記 books. Follow me on Twitter and Google+ for blog updates, my Japanese word of the day, and more!