All Kinds Of Thing – ピンキリ

All and sundry. The whole spectrum. Anything and everything. Those are all viable translations for this juicy little slang term. ピンキリ might confuse you at first though. I initially thought of remembering something (ピンとくる) and for something to have no limits (きりがない), but it’s actually used in quite a different way.

First up, let’s take a look at the original expression that the slang term is based upon. That would be:


Basically, the meaning of ○○から○○まで様々. It’s also used the same way as:


And both amount of the same rough translation:

All kinds of thing

Naturally, this will vary depending on the context used of course! Also of interest is the idiom 十人十色 (じゅうにんといろ) which literally translates to ’10 people, 10 colours’. Equivalent English expressions might be: There are as many opinions as there are people. Or even: So many men, so many minds. Not quite the same as ピンキリ, but similar.

Anyway, onto the origins of the word!

The meaning of ピン comes from the Portuguese word for ‘point’ or ‘spot’ (点) which is ‘pinta’, originally used to refer to the number one (一) on playing cards. キリ, in contrast, refers to (十字架), the sign of a cross, also based loosely on the Portuguese ‘cruz’. In Japanese, the sign of the cross is ‘ten’ (十). This is but one possible explanation however, others being that キリ refers to the end (終わり) or the furthest limit (切り).

But whatever explanation you find most convincing, what is certain is that ピンからキリまで or the abbreviated term ピンキリ is supposed to refer to 一から十まで – everything from 1 to 10, or, ‘all kinds of things’.

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