A while ago, I heard the word ぶっちゃけ on a comedy show used to mean "frankly."

I'd like to know three things:

1) How polite/impolite is this word? Looking it up online, it seems to be slang. I guess I shouldn't be using it at work...

2) If it is impolite/casual, what is a formal word with a similar meaning? I saw 率直に suggested online as a more formal alternative. Are there other good words to use?

3) Who uses this word/When was this word popular? Now that I think of it, I haven't heard anyone in "real life" use this word. Is it only used by a certain group (i.e., teenagers) or was only popular for a short time? Do most people know what it means?

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    ぶっちゃけ、少なくとも日本語学習者が積極的に使うべき表現ではないかも。既にペラペラなら別だけど。ぶっちゃけ、私自身もほとんど使わないっすね。テレビではけっこう聞くけど、自分では・・・ぶっちゃけ、なんか若い振りをしてるようで、ぶっちゃけ使わない、みたいな・・・ – l'électeur Jan 21 '15 at 3:42
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    今すごい違和感を感じました。90歳若返ったような… – Darius Jahandarie Jan 21 '15 at 5:34
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    @l'électeur 最初と二番目の「ぶっちゃけ」は自然に聞こえるんですけど、残りのは、ぶっちゃけ、変だと思います… – broken laptop Jan 23 '15 at 12:56

1) ぶっちゃけ is used among close friends or family in a very casual setting. I would not use this in a typical setting and especially not in a business situation.

ぶっちゃけ originally came from 打{ぶ}ち明{あ}ける→ぶっちゃける which means to expose or "kiss and tell" a scandalous or juicy story.

Since then, it came to mean frankly, or bluntly, or 'to get to the point of the matter', etc. but it's usage is still very slang.

率直{そっちょく} means straightforward or candid. For example, 率直{そっちょく}な意見{いけん} means "honest and open opinion".

2) Another way to say 率直 is ストレート. Both work in any setting but 率直 sounds a little more formal.

3) I find that young adults (maybe sometimes older adults?) and teens use this primarily. I still hear it even nowadays. I'm sure everyone knows what it means. It's still widely used on TV although not as much as early 2000s.

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