Slang in Japanese -日本語のスラング・俗語

Slang in Japanese

There are many slangs in Japanese same as other language.

You may find slang in manga, TV drama and conversation with Japanese.

In this post, I will explain some useful and frequent slang with meaning and usage.

I selected 10 words/phrases. How many in 10 words/phrases do you already know?

But please take note this is slang not formal words and phrases and if you use them too much, that may give bad impression to others. (People in Japan may feel that person is not well-educated person.)

Also, you cannot find these words and phrases in dictionary as these are newly made and used among people especially younger generation.


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めっちゃ (meccha)

Means “very much”.

Short for “めちゃくちゃ(目茶苦茶めちゃくちゃ)” meaning messy.

Please use “めっちゃ” when you want to emphasize your like or dislike.


“めっちゃ、き”  (I love it very much)

“めっちゃ、きらい”  (I hate it very much)

“めっちゃ、つかれた” (I am exhausted)


まじで? (majide?)

Means “really?” or “seriously?”

Please use “まじで?” when you want to ask surprisingly. This phrase can be used in affirmative sentence too.


“それ、まじで?” (Is it seriously?)

“まじで。” (Seriously.)



Means “not sure” or “it does not almost reach you expectation”


“このあじ、びみょうー” ( this taste is not so good)


ちょう (cho)

Means “very much”

超絶ちょうぜつ also same means.

It is used 超 + noun, 超 + adjective.   





うざい (uzai)

Means “I hate it”

This is often used in conversation with students at school and coworkers at workplace, I think.

Talking about teacher and boss etc.


“あの先生せんせい、うざくない?” (I hate the teacher, isn’t it?)

“うざいよねー” (Yes I hate him.”


やばい (yabai)

Means “awesome!” or “oh my god”

This phrase is used in both negative and affirmative sentence.

You should recognize which that means depending on context, nuance and intonation.


“やばい、遅刻ちこくしそう” (oh my god, I am about to be late)

“あのラーメン、(おいしくて)or (まずくて) やばいね” (That ramen shop is (nicely or badly) awesome)

“やばくね?” (it’s tough situation, is’t it?)


いけてる (iketetu)

Means “cool”

It’s used especially when you give complements to other’s appearance.


“あのふく、いけてるね?” (That clothes are cool, aren’t they?)

“うん、まじでかっこいいよね。” (Yes, they are)


イケメン (ikemen)

Means “cool guy” or “good-looking guy”

This comes from “いけてる”


“あいつ、イケメンだよね?” (That guy is good-looking, isn’t he?)


ガチで (gachide)

Mean “earnest”, “in earnest”, “literally”.

This is often used when in competition, battle and game.


“ガチで勝負しょうぶする” (They will battle in earnest)



Means “disgusting”

My impression for this phrase is that high school girls often use to criticize teacher same as “うざい”.


“あいつ、まじでむかつくー” (That guy is disgusting!)


Tips for slang in Japan

Slang in Japan has some characteristics, I think.


  • Often used by younger generation
  • Often used together with other slang like “まじでやばい”, “ちょうやばい” etc
  • When often used, it gives bad impression to others. I recommend not using frequently.
  • There is trend. Some slang will be no longer used and some new slang will be used instead.
  • New slang is made by mainly younger generation by celebrity or from impressive news.
  • Meaning sometimes differs depending on nuance, intonation and face expression.


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