단도직입 – Korean 4 Character Idioms #11

3 Speed Only

With Explanation

When we want to tell something to someone, sometimes we cannot decide where to begin because there are so many things to talk. In such a situation, we sometimes say everything in our hearts. However, in other cases, we try to select what we want to know most and ask that straightforwardly.

단도직입 is the expression for this straightforwardness. 단 means only one or single, 도 means a sword or a knife, 직 means direct or straight, 입 means to come in or go in, so 단도직입 basically means to go into the camp of the enemies with a single sword.

In most cases, you have to make plans before you attack your enemy. It is usually foolish or even suicidal to go into the crowd of enemies with a single sword without any plan. However, if you found out the enemy's weakness, it would be straightforward to go there with a single sword secretly. If you consider your communication as a war, 단도직입 is such a thing. You simply talk the main point out directly without anything in the front or back of the topic. That's why 단도직입 got the meaning "go straight to the point," or "straightforwardness."

Examples

하고 싶은 말은 많지만, 그냥 단도직입적으로 이것 하나만 물어볼게. 왜 지금 여기 있는 거야? 미국 간다고 하지 않았어?
I have so many things to ask you, but I will ask you this straightforwardly. Why are you here? Didn't you say that you would go to US?

단도직입적으로 말하는 것이 의미 전달이 빠른 장점은 있지만, 문제를 너무 직접적으로 드러내서 듣는 사람에게 상처를 줄 수가 있어.
It is a good idea to tell straightforwardly when you want to send your message, but it opens the problem so directly that it can give some wounds to the listener's heart.

여러 번 힌트를 줬는데도 못 알아 들으니, 다음 번에는 단도직입적으로 말해야겠다.
I gave him hints many times, but he doesn't have a clue. I should go straight to the point next time.