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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Japanese Slang “Yabai”

Yabai’s original meaning is “inconvenient” and “dangerous”. It of course still has original meaning and has new meaning at the same time as slang.

Some people living in Japan may have chance to listen to Japanese people saying Yabai. This is mainly used in among close friends and very informal situations. Especially, young people say Yabai when they are impressed and surprised at something. This is used independently.

For example, when you eat delicious cake, you can say “Kore Yabai!” which means “this is delicious!” When you see a really handsome guy on the street, you can say “Kare, Majide Yabai!” which means “He is so cool.” (See the meaning of Majide)

People also say “Yabê” instead of “Yabai”. “Yabê” is a kind of a derivative of Yabai. Both men and women can use this, but not suitable for women to use because it sounds a bit coarse in my opinion.

30 comments:

Amine said...

hehehe When I first said the word "yabai", my sensei told me to use "Abunai", coz "yabai" refers to bad people or yakusa :D
But later I heard many people using that word, so I was thinking that my sensei came from another planet :D

Anonymous said...

by reading your blog entry, i think the word 'yabai' will best match the english word 'terrible'. it can be used to describe something very good "terribly good!" or very bad "so terrible". but maybe 'terrible' doesn't include the meaning of 'abunai'? :)

just my curiosity, how can we really tell whether it's good or bad thing (or what's the intended meaning) when someone says "kare ha majide yabai"? ^^;

kayanon said...

amine>
If you want to use beautiful Japanese, abunai is better as your sensei said.

Slang is interesting because we seldom learn them seriously in school:)

kayanon said...

go>

"Terrible" could be. a little different from abunai, in my opinion.

well, there are a few possibilities to take the sentence meaning. if u take it with original meaning, it means he is strange or sth like that. and as slang, it means he is hot, like his looking is best much to her type. what do you think?

Anonymous said...

Very interesting! Also, thanks for your comment...Akemashte omedeto to you as well! (Did I say that right? :)

kayanon said...

greta>
yup, you are saying right, but it is said after Jannuary 1st. Rainen mo Yoroshiku!

albert said...

Yabai... I saw a video on YouTube with this guy who was playing BioHazard 2 (a game like Resident Evil) that was really funny here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=nCTKIqfmiWo

Tell me what you think!

Anonymous said...

ahh, ive been wondering what yabai meant. cos in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l31iHbYKxE4)
kame was screaming it over and over again.
you're fluent in japanese and english then?

Anonymous said...

I thought abunai meant "Look out!"

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, 'Abunai' means something about being dangerous. So yeah, that would be a look out kinda thing. As for Yabai, thats what I was just looking up for a double check. I believe it was on youtube I saw a video of GazettE before thier PSC tour and Ruki started the band saying something along the lines of 'Yabaiyo desu!' Which the youtuber translated into 'It was violent'... So... Yeah. I was guesing that Yabai would just mean violent...

Herbert Tito said...

yabai yabai yabai - by Matsumoto Jun!
hehehe

Anonymous said...

yabai yabai yabai this was yelled over and over by MatsuJun at one Arashis concerts. go to this link of youtube.com n u will kno wat im saying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmZwZcyjn1w

syanarazak said...

hey i used to hear in japanese series the actor/actresses used the word 'yabbe' when they face sumthing terrible..is yabbe and yabai the same??huhuhu (~_^)Y

Will said...

yeah yabbe is to yabai
like abune is to abunai
think its part of regional accent.
Kinda weird getting used to talking one way and then ya move and people dont understand you tho.

Most cases I heard yabai was people referring to something really bad. I'm kinda surprised it can be used in a good way
People used taihen a lot for terrible.

Anonymous said...

You mention that a derivative is Yabe-, and say that you find it a little too coarse for women.

I usually hear that derivative or distortion with men. Like changing umai to ume- and sugoi to suge-. In fact, I use it a lot myself.

Very masculine sounding :)

Deneb Catalan said...

I really need help in translating an english paragraph to Japanese. Would it be too much to ask?

Deneb
nebcat@gmail.com

Simone Suzu said...

Very nice these comments!
Arigatou gozaimasu!

Iru-chan said...

Huaa~ I met this Japanese girl, Aiko, when I was in the same family as she was on a foreign exchange program in France. Since my French already was fluent, I helped Aiko-san out while she taught me some basic Japanese. And indeed when we had just had dinner outdoors, and I tried crossing this road and nearly got run over by a car she shouted YABAAAAI! She couldn't explain to me what it really meant haha so this was helpful~ I'm flattered to see its used amongst friends.

Anonymous said...

Similar to Iru-chan's comment, this is one of the ways that I've heard it used. It seems like a slangy/colloquial twist of "abunai" that they often do with other words.

Another example:
On a TV show, a character found himself in the path of oncoming bad guys that he was running away from. At the moment he saw this, he said "Yabai" to himself and took off in the other direction. This episode had quite a number of chase scenes and everytime when finding himself in a dangerous or treacherous spot, he would say "yabai" to himself. I realized that this was the Japanese equivilant of "oh sh*t" or just "sh*t" or even "oh f*ck" or "f*ck" when in a dangerous situation without the consequences of having used profanity as Westerners do. How about "oh my!"?

The other instance I remember was at the moment when a character found out her boyfriend didn't use a condom when they had sex. She looked at him, scoldingly, and said "Yabai yo!" to express her precarious situation.

Most of the time it seems to be a word used "in the moment" of an emotion.

Anonymous said...

after spending 4months living with japanese teenagers, i can say honestly that it is used more as 'awesome'. this is specific to young japanese culture, because they use it to make something really really good. the confusion that is it 'terribly good' is common because the english word 'awesome' is used differently to young and old people in the english language.

Henry

Anonymous said...

So the concept of it actually meaning something bad but is used in a positive way is a little bit like, "...wicked...!", ne?

Onivelsper said...

So maybe in Tagalog, based on the examples, it can be translated into "sobra!" or "grabe!"?? meaning "much" or "super"...xD

like for example, trouble "much", "super" kawaii, yummy "much"...
am i making sense?

Anonymous said...

yabai means bad-ass in a cool way

example:
the dangerous stunt was perform. your reaction would be, "that was bad-ass stunt".

Anonymous said...

When I watch anime, the Eng Sub is "this is bad" when the character says "yabai". What was happening to the character is really bad, so can I assume "yabai" = "this is bad"?

Anonymous said...

a...ano...
You know, in english we do say "SICK!" to refer to something cool. I think yabai may be something like that~ :D

yasmin said...

thanks for your entry, it really helped me to get the meaning of yabai, and what i got is that it has the same meaning as WOW in english

Ryan said...

From working with young Japanese women for a while I came to understand the term Yabai as a synonym for the phrase "Oh shit!" or "Woah!". Really just a way to express surprise and/or excitement.

Context, "Yabai! The guests are coming early; you can already see the limo! Yabai!"

"-Ahh, here, take this package from me.
-Yabai! It's really heavy!"

"*attending an exhibit at the museum* Yabai! Dinosaurs are huge!"

♛মুকুট♛ said...

thank you, I just googling this word as I have heard this word several times during my stay in Japan from my labmate. I now understand

arigato

Anonymous said...

Can someone translate this for me? My friend left a message like this on her FB and disappeared.

"やばい。ゴきちょっとどう殺せばいいの?飛ぶでしょ飛ぶよね??どう殺すのG?ちょっとまってどうすればいいの?どうしたら飛ばない?殺して平気?まずい?どうしよやばい、なく。Gさま頼むからきえてください。"

Ruka said...

Oww kayanon, I think I love you