そこに在るのに「無い」という果物は何でしょう?

このなぞなぞの答えは「なし(梨、無し)」です。日本語には同音異義語と呼ばれる、同じ発音なのに異なる意味を持つことばがたくさんあります。このなぞなぞは、その特徴を利用したものですね。

数ある同音異義語の一つが「なし」。しかし、せっかく在るのに「無し」と表現するのは縁起が悪い、ということで「ありの実」と言い換えられて表現することがあります。

同じように、イカを干して裂いたものを「スルメ」と言って酒のつまみなどに食べますが、「スルメ」の「する」も商売をする人にとっては「金を擦る(金を失ってしまう)」という連想が働きます。また、物を盗むことも「掏(す)る」と表現することから(通りすがりの人の財布を盗み取る泥棒のことを「スリ」と呼びますね)、「スルメ」は「当たりめ」と言い換えて、縁起が良い呼び名で表現します。

同じ論理で、ゴマや芋などをすりつぶす「すり鉢」も「あたり鉢」に変身。

「僧侶」にいたっては、髪が一本もないのに「髪長(かみなが)」と呼んでいました。
それを知らずに「今日は髪長が来るよ」と聞かされ、ロングヘアーの来客を想像していたところ、スキンヘッドのお坊さんがやってきたら、さぞかしびっくりすることでしょう。

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What fruit is there, but not there?

The answer to this riddle is “nashi”, which means “a pear” or “nothing.”

In Japanese, there are homonyms which are words that sound the same, but have different meanings. This riddle utilizes this characteristic.

Nashi, (“a pear” or “nothing”) is one of many homonyms. However, it was considered bad luck to call something that’s there as not there, therefore the fruit is often called arinomi, which literally means “the fruit that is there.” (Note: ari means “to exist” and mi means “fruit.̶

In the same way, squid, which often accompanies a drink, that has been dried and then cut is called a surume. For people doing business, they connect the sound of suru with the homonym for “to scrub off.” In the same way, the word to steal is also a homonym, (pickpockets are called suri) therefore, surume can be replaced with atarime (atari means “hit” or “right”), so that it has a better feel to it.

For the same reason, the suribachi used to smash and grate sesame seeds and potatoes can be called ataribachi.

Monks were called kaminaga, which means “long hair,” even though they didn’t have a single hair on their heads. If you didn’t know this and somebody told you, “a long hair is coming” you’d be surprised to see a skinhead monk when you were expecting a long haired visitor.

From: JapanesePod101.com

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