Japanese by Example
Learning through examples in manga

Neglecting one's work with 油を売る

(あぶら)() means to neglect one’s work by idle chitchat. It also refers to taking a detour and going somewhere else.

The expression is derived from the Edo period (1603–1867), when a hair oil merchant would engage in lengthy small talk with women while selling oil to them.

In English, “loafing around” has a similar meaning.

Further reading


美少女戦士セーラームーン » Volume 3 » Page 273