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Let's say there is a 1km race, and here is the ranking:

A: 170 seconds
B: 301 seconds
C: 308 seconds
D: 312 seconds

We can say that A is fastest by a wide margin, because he was much faster than all other runners.

How to say fastest by a large margin in Japanese?

Adapting from ALC, I wrote 大幅に一番速い, but a Japanese colleague taught me that 大幅 and 一番 can not be used at the same time. She advised me to use only one or the other, but I feel that the idea I want to convey (much faster than all others) is lost.

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5 Answers 5

If you think about it 大幅に一番~ doesn't really make sense since 大幅 refers to a large span and 一番速い refers to the singular fastest. As such we need an expression that emphasizes the difference.

Looking at alc for some similar phrases, I found some stuff that might work. Checking "by a long shot" gives us the following:

大きく差をつけて、断然
・This one is better by a long shot. : こちらの品の方がはるかに良いです。

This seems appropriate to me for your situation. 大きく差をつけて makes perfect sense since we refer to an outstanding thing by saying 差がつく. 断然 also works with a meaning like "firmly" in terms of an extent or certainty. The example sentence uses はるかに, which you can also translate as being something like "a distant first."

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2  
「一番早い」 means "earliest".「一番速い」 means "fastest". –  kingyo Oct 3 '13 at 14:54
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sorry, just a 変換ミス –  ssb Oct 4 '13 at 6:07

How about 大差で【たいさで】? It looks like you could say:

  • 大差で勝つ      Win by a large margin
  • (誰かを)大差で破る Beat (someone) by a large margin 

(Examples adapted from ALC.)

Neither of these examples directly expresses fastest, though.

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I think a more colloquial way is: 「彼は他の人よりも、めちゃくちゃ速かった。」 "He was absurdly faster than anyone else." But, writing "めちゃくちゃ" might be unnatural because there is so much kana. Spoken though, "めちゃくちゃ" sounds pleasant/natural in my opinion.

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You can use ぶっちぎり, which kind of means "overwhelming" with a nuance of competition.

  • ぶっちぎりの速さでトップフィニッシュ
  • ぶっちぎりで優勝した

"Fastest by a large margin" would be ぶっちぎりの速さ.

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How about "ダントツの1位",or "ダントツの速さ"

Aさんはダントツの速さで勝ちました。

ダントツ=断然+トップ

so

ダントツの1位 = by far + the top + number one, so it will be a good choice if repetition is your style :-)

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I felt I should add that 断トツの1位 is a redundant phrase (just like 一番最初 or まず初めに) that sounds unpleasant to some listeners. There are many redundant phrases in English, too, like "déjà vu all over again" and "old adage", though... ;) –  execjosh Feb 20 at 23:21

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