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(だれかこの単語の使いかたを説明してくれますか。辞典にはたくさんの意味が載っているようです。)

Can someone explain the usage of this term 出鱈目{でたらめ} to me? It seems to have a lot of meanings.

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It seems to mean "unplanned" or "not well thought-through" -- but if I'm reading correctly, it's not generally written with 漢字 –  virmaior Jan 9 at 23:05
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There is a nice 用法 section on here: kotobank.jp/word/… –  ssb Jan 10 at 1:52
    
@virmaior Erm, that is hardly what it means in most contexts. –  Darius Jahandarie Jan 10 at 2:45
    
@DariusJahandarie, does it have a common meaning across most contexts? –  virmaior Jan 10 at 4:37
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例)ちょこれーと:「TNさんはアメリカ人です。」TN:「デタラメ言ってんじゃねーよ!」←こういうふうに使います。 –  Chocolate Jan 10 at 5:56
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2 Answers

There are few theories about its etymology, but one prominent one is that it comes from "出たら目", which approximately means サイコロを振って、出たらその目に従う i.e. "roll a dice and behave according to that".

Whether or not this theory is correct, I think it explains the nuance well. I.e. it means "To behave random", "Do something without thought", "saying something without basis that just came through one's mind" etc. Note however, that it's exclusively used for negative description.

Here are some examples:

A:「この壷を買えば、宇宙人と交信して株で勝てますよ」
B:「何でたらめなこと言ってるんだこいつ」

A:「ピカソの絵、俺にはどう見てもでたらめにしか見えない」

A:「うちの会社の戦略はでたらめだ」

A:「でたらめに馬券を勝ったら、100万円当たった」
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It basically means bullS**t but it is not very rude to use it in a formal conversation.

In fact this is what it translate to when you type it in the Google Translator http://translate.google.com/#ja/en/%E3%81%A7%E3%81%9F%E3%82%89%E3%82%81

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