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A friend of mine told me that he heard うくれ or 受けれ was slang for funny (He said it was suppose to be "we accept"). I don't really know much more that that so I'm having trouble finding it online-does anyone have ideas what it could have been?

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    Hmm... 受ける(うける/ukeru)...? zokugo-dict.com/03u/ukeru.htm – user1016 Oct 12 '13 at 6:18
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    FYI, the antonym is スベる or すべる. Adding this because while I have met a few Japanese learners who knew the word ウケる, almost none of them knew its antonym. – l'électeur Oct 16 '13 at 2:26
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I think your friend has picked up the use of 受ける which can be used to say popular or in the sense of "the joke carried". This is one the many uses of 受ける. I took the following as set phrases to learn this use, from 総まとめN1語彙 (p92):

若者に受ける映画|movie that is very popular among young people

ギャグがウケなかった|the joke did not go down very well

ウケがいい|very popular

The following examples came from the dictionary on my Apple computer:

  1. 彼の推理小説は学生に大いに受けている|His detective stories are extremely popular with [among] students.

  2. 彼のしゃれはインテリの間で受けた|His witticisms gained [earned] him popularity among the intelligentsia.

  3. そのミュージカルは非常に受けた|The musical was a great hit.

  4. 彼女のパーティーはお客に受けた|Her party [was a success / went over well] with the guests.

  5. 彼のだじゃれは一般大衆に大いに受けている|His gags [have caught the public fancy / appeal to the public].

  6. その芝居は全く受けなかった|That play was a complete flop [failure].

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You're thinking of

ウケる

Note that for ウケる we don't use kanji.

Origin: Because reception of something is 受ける. One party (the person telling a joke, for example) is seeking reception (from the person receiving a joke, for example).

In this case, if your personal reception of something is positive you could use ウケる. The usage of this particular usage started around the ~1980s.

(More: http://zokugo-dict.com/03u/ukeru.htm )

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I have definitely heard/ seen "ukeru" used as slang for funny, but in those cases it is usually written as ウケる (manga, books, drama scripts). Often, I've observed it proceeded by "cho" - 超ウケる. ( Though as virgil points out, this is not a definitive - usage may vary by region, etc)

I never thought of it before, but it makes sense that it originated from 受ける, and started as more of "that joke really gets to me/ I receive that joke" - however, as I've seen it used in natural language, especially in response to a joke or such, it does seem to simply mean "that's funny/ that's really funny" - that is certainly how I would translate it, at least. And a quick google of Weiblo's English/Japanese dictionary shows them translating it as simply "funny" when spelled in katakana, and linking it to 受ける.

  • It's only proceeded by 超 depending on a lot of circumstances (region/accent, age group of speaker, type of speaker - e.g. high school kid vs. old man) so I don't think we can definitively say that. – virgil9306 Feb 20 '17 at 2:58
  • It's not a set, that's true. I do frequently see them together, though, and my point (though not clearly stated) was that ウケる acts like a different word than 受ける, even if it came from 受ける. You probably wouldn't say 超 受ける – Harukogirl Feb 20 '17 at 5:16
  • It's still a good example of common usage so I think it's good that you pointed it out : ) – virgil9306 Feb 21 '17 at 6:30

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