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Where We’ve Seen

We’ve seen (TOTSU, tsu(ku): to dash, thrust, abruptly, suddenly) in these words:

突然 (totsuzen: abruptly, suddenly, unexpectedly)
     abruptly + state of being

不意を突く (fui o tsuku: to take by surprise)
     not + intention + to poke

The first two kanji combine to mean “unexpected.” People usually write つく rather than 突くin this phrase, but however you write this word, it means “to poke.” The breakdown is therefore “poking the unexpected.” That’s unexpected! The sense is that someone is poking an absent-minded person’s consciousness!

追突 (tsuitotsu: rear-end collision)     to chase + to collide

When I introduced 追突, I said, “The second kanji, , can mean ‘to stab, to pierce’ so I was hoping that that meaning applied here. After all, if a car chase ends in a collision, it’s as if one car has stabbed the other! But Halpern says in 追突 means ‘to collide.'”

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