Dec
08
2012

36 Cool and Obscure Words (WOTD Roundup)

Hello, all. If you follow me on twitter, you know that for the last month or so, (almost) every day, I’ve been posting a #Japanese #WOTD.

Since information on twitter is quickly buried, I’ll leave a record here for the sake of data permanence (and also for the sake of anyone who doesn’t use twitter).

In no particular order…

  • 逆ギレ – (gyakugire) – getting angry in response to someone else’s anger
  • 方向音痴 – (houkou onchi) – “directionally tonedeaf” = having a terrible sense of direction
  • 死亡フラグ – (shibou furagu) – “death flag” a statement/action that hints at or frequently precedes a character’s death (in fiction)
  • 鵜呑み (にする) – (unomi ni suru) – to accept someone’s idea/opinion without thinking. Literally: to swallow (whole) like a cormorant.
  • ダメ元(で) – (damemoto de) – attempting something even though one expects it to be unsuccessful.
  • 悪乗り – (warunori) – getting carried away and saying/doing more than one should (also written: 悪ノリ)
  • 文字化け (mojibake) – when digital text is turned into incomprehensible gibberish due to an error (eg. 縺ォ繧医▲縺ヲ縲∬。ィ遉コ蜿)
  • (otsu) – “thanks” (internet slang, derived from お疲れ様/otsukaresama)
  • 鉢合わせ (hachiawase) – an unexpected meeting/encounter, running/bumping into someone
  • 思い出し笑い (omoidashi warai) – Laughing when recalling something funny.
  • ググる (guguru) – to search on Google (RU-Verb)
  • 絶対領域 (zettai ryouiki) – the area of a woman’s thigh which is exposed between her over-knee socks and short pants/skirt
  • 金輪際 (konrinzai) – definitely (not) / never / under no circumstances (adverb, used to make a strong refusal or denial)
  • 腹癒せ (haraise) – something done in order to vent one’s anger or get revenge (eg. punching a wall after an argument)
  • 腹ごなし (haragonashi) – light excercise such as taking a walk, done after a meal in order to help digest food
  • 腹ごしらえ (haragoshirae) – having a meal in advance of some activity (ie. before going somewhere, working, shopping, etc.)
  • 似た者同士 (nita mono doushi) – two people with similar personalities/traits, “birds of a feather”
  • 八重歯 (yaeba) – maligned teeth, especially when the top canines appear to be pushed/crowded outward
  • 験担ぎ (genkatsugi) – a personal superstition or good-luck ritual (eg. a sports player eating a certain food before a game)
  • 念力 (nenriki) – telekenesis. Also: 念動力 (nendouryoku)
  • 十八番 (ohako) – one’s regularly-used trick/technique, their “specialty”, (someone up to their) old tricks
  • 打開策 (dakaisaku) – a plan for overcoming a difficult situation
  • 天才肌 (tensaihada) – not necessarily a genius, but showing genius-like eccentricity (lit. “genius skin”)
  • 手持ち無沙汰 (temochibusata) – fidgety/antsy because one has nothing to do
  • 踏ん反り返る (funzorikaeru) – to lean back comfortably with one’s legs sticking out in front
  • 当たり屋 (atariya) – a person who intentionally gets hit by a car, scheming to get money from the driver. Also: a big hitter (baseball), or someone who often wins at lotteries, raffles and so on.
  • ガリ勉 (gariben) – a person so focused on studying as to preclude social activities. Typically this word criticizes someone for having no social life.
  • 野次馬 (yajiuma) – onlookers (unrelated people watching the scene of an accident/crime/fire)
  • 送り狼 (okuriookami) – a man who accompanies a woman to their home, seeking an opportunity to assault them.
  • 芋蔓式 (imozurushiki) – related things/people becoming apparent in succession, “like a vine of sweet potatoes”
  • 狸寝入り – (tanukineiri) – pretending to be asleep
  • デコピン – (dekopin) – flicking one’s finger on someone’s forehead (a “playful” form of punishment)
  • 土下座 – (dogeza) – bowing/begging on your hands and knees and with your forehead to the ground
  • とんぼ返り – (tonbogaeri) – “a dragonfly spin”, going somewhere for a short time, then coming back promptly and directly
  • チャラ – (chara) – when two opposing things cancel each other out, such as person A paying for gas, person B paying a similar amount for dinner.
  • ドン引き – (donbiki) having the atmosphere/mood ruined by someone’s unreasonable or out-of-place comment or action

I’m still preparing the next round of #WOTD words, which won’t be as obscure as these. I’ll be focusing on more useful words, which are often under-used by learners. So make sure you follow me on twitter if you haven’t already! :-)

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