"over in the blink of an eye"?

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What is the idiom "in the blink of an eye" in Japanese?

I want to use it to say that two years will be over in the blink of an eye or "before you even notice".

(For a detailed discussion and examples of the English idiom please see e.g. here)

ナウシカ

Posted 2015-07-22T23:48:36.710

Reputation: 1 017

Answers

12

「あっという間{ま}」 is the phrase I would suggest.

"Two years will be over in the blink of an eye." would be:

「2年{ねん}なんて、あっという間だよ。」

「2年なんて、あっという間に終{お}わるよ。」

Needless to say, 「あっという間」 literally means "while you utter 「あ」". It is a very common and useful phrase for "in the blink of an eye".

l'électeur

Posted 2015-07-22T23:48:36.710

Reputation: 156 430

Is it also natural Japanese if instead of なんて I say って? – ナウシカ – 2015-07-23T12:07:49.163

That's also natural but the meaning would be a bit different. (noun)なんて conveys a contemptuous nuance to the noun. – user4092 – 2015-07-23T13:30:22.083

1Google has the best translation for あっという間に。 – Matthew James Davis – 2015-08-10T07:21:39.087

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一瞬で, 一瞬にして, etc.

Coincidentally (or not coincidentally), the 瞬 in 一瞬 means blink.

user224579

Posted 2015-07-22T23:48:36.710

Reputation: 1 744

I'm not downvoting, but when translating idioms I'd go for translating the colloquial meaning, not the literal meaning. – Pandacoder – 2015-07-23T02:18:47.837

@Pandacoder Just so that I understand correctly: Is the literal translation 一瞬で not an idiom in Japanese? – ナウシカ – 2015-07-23T03:27:50.620

I don't know enough to answer that question, but I think it might be (an idiom). To try to clarify what I meant: your translation for this specific idiom seemed to be too... literal or direct. Based on the additional criteria of "before you even notice" I would say that the other answer better fits the mental picture (that at least I have) of the idiom in English. Granted, I don't know every English variation of "in a blink of the eye", so you may have been going for something I'm not aware of. – Pandacoder – 2015-07-23T03:46:24.517

@Pandacoder I'm the asker not the answererよ(^^) – ナウシカ – 2015-07-23T04:32:38.933

@user213845 Ah, woops. Misread the numbers. I still think my second comment explained the meaning I was going for with my original comment so I'm ever so slightly ok with misreading. Sorry about that though. – Pandacoder – 2015-07-23T04:35:52.467

1This is not a literal translation. It is an actual phrase. It just so happens it matches English literally. – user224579 – 2015-07-23T16:52:04.807

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In addition to other great answers: I also heard the phrases with roughly the same meaning here and there:

  • いつの間にか 「いつの間にかAがBに変わった」
  • たちまちのうちに 「たちまちのうちにAが売り切れになってしまった」 (I would appreciate if a native speaker could comment if this expression is archaic or regional, heard it Kansai)

macraf

Posted 2015-07-22T23:48:36.710

Reputation: 7 203

0

瞬く間に(またたくまに)seems exactly the one.

user4092

Posted 2015-07-22T23:48:36.710

Reputation: 18 179