Verb Yaku (焼く)

I would like to talk about the verb: yaku (焼く) which has a variety of usages!

In Japanese, when you cook something, you can use the word “yaku” in almost all cases, while in English, you need to choose different verbs depending on how to cook it.

You can remember “yaku” means “to grill, broil, bake, barbecue, roast, fry, stir, sear, toast” and so on!


Also, when you put something on fire, you can use “yaku” like “to burn, fire, and cremate” and so on.


Now I would like to introduce some unique Japanese expressions with “yaku”.


“Yaki-mochi o yaku”

The food “yaki-mochi” is a toasted rice cake, so you might think it means “to make a toasted rice cake”. But it’s wrong! “Yaki-mochi o yaku” means “to be or get jealous”!


“Sewa o yaku”

“Sewa” means doing something for others, such as “care, help, assistance, and trouble”. So “Sewa o yaku” means “to take good care of (someone)”. However, when it comes to “Yokei-na sewa o yaku” (*yokei-na = too much, unnecessary), it means “to meddle in (someone’s affairs)” or “to poke one’s nose into (someone’s business)”!

So please be careful when using these expressions!


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