I was wondering about this one recently. "Fuck" in English is famous for being applicable in a wide, wide range of circumstances (none of them formal).

What word in Japanese covers a wide spectrum of possible meanings and uses like "fuck" does. Does not have to be a rude/vulgar term.

Any suggestions?

EDIT: half of you seem to have missed the point of my question. I don't need a translation for "fuck", I want a word as versatile. Maji is pretty good but I would've thought there'd be more contenders. Admittedly it's a vague question, but one for my izakaya zatsugaku collection.

  • 8
    It's a bit of a vague question: all "versatility of Fuck" jokes aside, the word is not that versatile: it is merely a very common interjection that has come to fit with pretty much any existing sentence, but it won't dramatically affect the meaning itself. As you may know, Japanese is not big on the overuse of profanity (even very harmless ones like ばか or くそ are reserved for big stuff), so an equivalent in this way is unlikely...
    – Dave
    Jun 14, 2011 at 14:27
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    Shouldn't we write "fuck" as "fuck"? Or is this about some other word?
    – Kdansky
    Jun 14, 2011 at 15:49
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    With @Kdanski on that... this is a language/linguistics forum: precision trumps misplaced prudishness and 'fuck' should be spelt out. Keeping the elided form in the title should be enough to spare easily-offended eyes while warning them of the horrors of explicit language contained therein.
    – Dave
    Jun 14, 2011 at 17:44
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    sounds like バカ and ちょう are candidates for the answer, but the question should be made wiki as there is no single answer to it.
    – repecmps
    Jun 15, 2011 at 1:49
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    @Ito: I hear you however I wasn't asking for a rude word, just something widely used and possibly examples of it. WRT the claim by you and @Dave that it's not versatile, perhaps I can defer to Wikipedia on this one? "'Fuck' can be used as a verb, adverb, adjective, command, interjection, noun, and can logically be used as virtually any word in a sentence (e.g., "Fuck the fucking fuckers")." Cf: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuck Perhaps instead you can help me improve the question, because it is a valid one (even if it turns out that "fuck" does not have an opposite number in Japanese.
    – crunchyt
    Jun 17, 2011 at 14:41

7 Answers 7


I am surprised nobody mentioned: マジ ("maji")

Only used as an adverb, with the meaning of "fucking", for instance マジ寒い for "fucking cold".

Combinations can be done: チョウ寒い、マジで!

  • I don't think マジ寒い can be translated as "fucking cold", but it's versatile and matches the questions' requirements. +1
    – repecmps
    Jun 15, 2011 at 9:23
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    You can't really use マジ as interjection like クソ, but otherwise it's still plenty versatile.
    – deceze
    Jun 16, 2011 at 1:29
  • Ok, the winner is マジ ... it doesn't mean "fuck" (and didn't need). I will now explore it's wide usage further. :D
    – crunchyt
    Jun 20, 2011 at 0:47
  • @Nicolas Raoul: It's short for 真面目, or "seriously". You might say that because it isn't actually rude, you can use it in more places than "fuck". It's still highly informal though. Aug 1, 2011 at 22:58

What about 「[微妙]{びみょう}」. It is used to express something not quite well. e.g. [今日]{きょう}行{い}ったレストランは[微妙]{びみょう}だった。 It is also used to say about something subtle. e.g. [微妙]{びみょう}な[色彩]{しきさい}が[施]{ほどこ}された[絵画]{かいが}. It is also used when you cannot make up your mind. e.g. [明日暇]{あしたひま}? ん~[微妙]{びみょう}. It is also used for something unknown. e.g. [彼]{かれ}の[発言]{はつげん}で[微妙]{びみょう}な[空気]{くうき}が[流]{なが}れた。


I would say 馬鹿(バカ) is kind of like that. You could use like バカデカイ(** huge).


What about ちょう? I've heard it used as an adverb, adjective and standing by itself. Or was that local slang of the people I was with?

  • ちょう / 超 works. It literally and figuratively translates as "super" as in 超疲れた = super-tired, 超面白かった = super-fun, etc. Aug 1, 2011 at 23:00

My Japanese isn't very good, but I've heard that 一応 can be used in a wide variety of contexts.


I once checked what is the longest article in the Green Goddess (Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary). It was for き【気】, which had 10 main meanings and a huge number of idioms. My denshi jiten even had it split in two, probably because it ran into some software length limitation.

I actually managed to find a copy of the article on the web just now: http://pastie.org/pastes/260480

Here's the list of main meanings:

1 〔精神・心・意識〕 spirit; (a) mind; (a) heart.
2 〔気質・性格〕 (a) nature; a disposition.
3 〔意向〕 a mind; an intention; 〔意志〕 will; 〔意欲〕 high [strong] motivation; 〔意気・気力〕 spirit(s).
4 〔気持ち・気分〕 one's feelings; a mood; (a) frame of mind.
5 〔関心〕 interest.
6 〔注意力・心遣い〕 care; consideration; attention.
8 〔雰囲気〕 an atmosphere; 〔精気〕 essence; spirit.
9 【中国哲学】 〔生命の根元・生命力〕 chi; ch'i; qi.
10 〔香気〕 fragrance; aroma; 〔風味〕 taste; 〔燻気〕 fumes.


しまった? i usually hear like あっ!しまった! in situations that i would usually mean, "ow, fuck!"

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    Despite the (admittedly poor) wording of the title, this CW is not about translations for the word 'fuck', but about finding expletives/interjections of similar versatility.
    – Dave
    Jun 18, 2011 at 8:31
  • It comes from しまう so you should write しまった. I personally think it works at answering the question, so +1
    – repecmps
    Jun 18, 2011 at 12:13
  • Close, but not quite as versatile. しまった is closer to "damn". It can't be used as an adverb like "fuck". e.g. "This is fucking great!" Sep 25, 2012 at 17:07

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