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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 '14 at 23:05
There is a nice 用法 section on here:… – ssb Jan 10 '14 at 1:52
@virmaior Erm, that is hardly what it means in most contexts. – Darius Jahandarie Jan 10 '14 at 2:45
@DariusJahandarie, does it have a common meaning across most contexts? – virmaior Jan 10 '14 at 4:37
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。 – user1016 Jan 10 '14 at 5:56

2 Answers 2

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:




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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

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