Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 10: 3/17

らしい ②
typical of, -ish・like, appropriate for, becoming of, befitting

Structure
Casual
Formal
Noun + らしい
Noun + らしく + Phrase
Noun + らしい + Noun
Noun + らしい + です。
Noun + らしく + Phrase
Noun + らしい + Noun
Details
Register Standard
使用域 一般
Information
In our first らしい lesson, we discussed the 助動詞(じょどうし) (auxiliary verb) use of らしい. In this lesson we will focus on the 形容詞(けいようし)の一部(いちぶ) (auxiliary adjective) usage. An auxiliary adjective is a type of adjective that must be attached to another word for it to have any meaning.
To use らしい in this way, it must be attached to the end of a noun, and will imply that something is ‘typical of (A)’, where (A) is the noun that comes before it. As this らしい behaves like an い-Adjective, it may also be conjugated to らしく, before a (B) phrase will explain more about ‘what’ is/was typical of (A).
  • トム本当(ほんとう)男(おとこ)らしい
    Tom, you are really manly.
  • タケル君(くん)もうお兄(にい)ちゃんので、お兄(にい)ちゃんらしくしなさい
    Takeru, you are already an older brother, so you should act like an older brother!
  • やっと10月(がつ)らしい天気(てんき)になっ
    It has finally become October-like weather, don't you think?
The primary use of this らしい is to express that (A) has some feature or trait that is expected of itself. It can be used for people, ‘studying all night is so typical of Tanaka’, or it can be used for things like seasons ‘this heat is so typical of the Japanese Summer’. Other common translations are ‘to be befitting of (A)’, or ‘to be appropriate for (A)’.
However, it may also be used negatively, to show that something is (often surprisingly) ‘uncharacteristic of (A)’.
  • トムこんなに勉強(べんきょう)ているのは見(み)たことがない、トムらしくない
    I've never seen Tom study this much. It's very uncharacteristic of him.
  • 今日(きょう)8月(がつ)らしくないです。涼(すず)しです
    Today is not typical of August. It’s cool.
  • 彼女(かのじょ)女(おんな)らしくない人(ひと)
    She is an unladylike person.
Fun Fact
When the noun that appears in (A) and (B) are the same, it will imply that (A) is the ‘prime example of (B)’, or ‘the most (A), (B)’.
  • 今年(ことし)8月(がつ)夏(なつ)らしい夏(なつ)
    August this year is the prime example of summer. (Literally, ‘the most summery summer’)
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父親(ちちおや):「学校(がっこう)行(い)きたくなくなること子供(こども)らしい。オレそうだった。」
Father: "Not wanting to go to school is typical of children. I was also like that."
スコット:「これ一番(いちばん)だいこんらしいだいこん!」
Scott: "This is the most radish radish among radishes!"
[when the same noun is used, it expresses a perfect example, apex, real. Like: 'radishish radish', 'manly man', etc.]
スーツ色(いろ)一番(いちばん)人気(にんき)のは黒(くろ)と思(おも)っている一番(いちばん)サラリーマンらしい他(ほか)服(ふく)合(あ)いやすいから
I think that the most popular suit color is black. Because it is (the color) most typical of company employees and easily matches other clothes.
Books
Tobira
Page 121
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 267
[AIAIJ] An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese
Page 73