The English word "funny" means "something that makes one laugh". What is/are the closest Japanese word/words that match the meaning and the nuance of the word "funny"?

Two possible matches are 楽しい【たのしい】 and 面白い【おもしろい】. However, 楽しい is more like "fun" and 面白い is more like "interesting". There is also 可笑しい【おかしい】, which in my experience is often used with negative connotations. The word "funny" can also have negative connotations, but is usually positive. Another possible match is 滑稽 but this seems to have the sense of "extremely funny".

  • 4
    Don't translate words; translate thoughts. That said, strictly translated, I'd think that "something that makes you laugh" is "笑わせるもの". Of course, neither could be substituted for "funny". Translating words does not work.
    – davewp
    Apr 8, 2014 at 21:09
  • As you probably know, you can use the more colloquial オモロイ in place of 面白い.
    – istrasci
    Apr 8, 2014 at 23:08
  • 2
    It seems to me OP is asking how to translate the thought. Of course the only way Stack Exchange permits exchange of thoughts is by typing them out in words. Apr 9, 2014 at 0:48
  • I've noticed people of many backgrounds who speak nonnative English have a kind of reverse of this problem where they say "funny" for something enjoyable that doesn't invoke laughter, when native speakers would say "fun". Apr 9, 2014 at 0:50
  • although dictionary wise 滑稽 is fine, at least among the young generations 滑稽 would have a slight derogatorish sense to it, it is often used to say you are acting foolish by saying "滑稽だな" to a person.
    – Saifis
    Apr 9, 2014 at 8:48

2 Answers 2


I think that 面白い is actually much closer to "funny" than most learners realise, because they think of 面白い as "interesting". It often means "funny", e.g.

Aki is really funny.

Another way of saying "that's really funny", which hasn't been mentioned, is



You've basically answered your question - the words you've listed are your options. There's pretty much nothing closer to the English word 'funny' than those words; and if there was a more direct translation, it would be unusual enough of a word that it would sound too strange to use in everyday conversation. I'd say to default to 面白い - it would mean something like 'something that I enjoy(ed) experiencing', in this case, because it was humorous.

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