I apologize in advance for the possibly vulgar language, but I am asking purely from an academic perspective.

My understanding is that both クソ and しまった translate roughly to the English "damn" when used as interjections. My question is, is there any particular difference in usage between the two? From what I have observed, it seems that しまった is more likely to be used in reaction to circumstances that were under the control of the speaker. But I have heard enough exceptions that I have my doubts. Can anyone verify this? And are there any other differences in usage?

  • 2
    Is クゾ a typo? _
    – dainichi
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 0:44
  • @dainichi What typo? :o Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 0:54
  • 1
    クソ is a vulger language, しまった is not. しまった(仕まう[tr.v.]+た(perfect adv.)) means that "I've done something wrong.".
    – jovanni
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 17:13
  • @jovanni Do they both mean the same thing but one is just more vulgar than the other? Or do they carry different meanings as well? Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 17:24
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    @Ataraxia クソ is "shit" . I think no more explanations are needed for this word. Even if those two words are uttered in similar situations, their meanings are definitely defferent. I think the expression しまった contains some nuance of regrets.
    – jovanni
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 18:19

1 Answer 1


As @jovanni said: クソ literally means "shit" (feces), as well as being used as an interjection ("Shit!") in essentially the same way it's used in English.

しまった is also an interjection but is not vulgar. It's also not as colloquial as クソ. It comes from the word しまう, which means "to finish ...; to do ... completely" (usually with a connotation of reluctance or regret). しまった could perhaps be taken to mean "Now I've done it..." (as an expression of regret).

Your observation that しまった is more likely to be used when the speaker had some control over the situation is almost certainly because しまう specifically has that connotation of regret (though, well, you can certainly feel bad about something out of your control).

  • and 「しめた」 means something totally different
    – hello all
    Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 15:29
  • Indeed; that would be the past tense of しめる, which has a number of possible meanings (mostly depending on the kanji with which it is usually written). 閉める is one of the most common and means "to close/shut".
    – V2Blast
    Commented Sep 30, 2013 at 23:10

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