Is there a Japanese equivalent to "to be out of it"?

I just had a busy weekend and need to ask someone something again which I had asked them before because I forgot the answer. Now I want to tell them that "I'm a bit out of it because of last weekend" and that's the reason why I am asking the same thing again.

Another example of "to be out of it" would be for example to say "I'm sorry I have a cold so I'm a bit out of it". Meaning you want to ask for patience and want the listener to not expect your usual self.

I suspect if there is indeed such a thing it might turn out to be an idiom/set phrase rather than just a word. Note that this is colloquial in English and I'd like to have the same level of colloquialism in the Japanese version of it. Thank you for your help!

2 Answers 2


I'm Japanese and don't know well about the English idiom "to be out of it." But I think I know some useful Japanese words for your situations.     



This expression is natural to say when you have a cold, fever or other bad condition and can't understand or think about things well temporary. "I'm sorry I have a cold so I'm a bit out of it." could be


in Japanese polite conversation. Without [敬語]{けいご},




ぼんやり means almost same as ぼうっと in the sentence ぼうっとする. The difference is that we can use ぼんやり in more various situations than ぼうっと or ぼーっと. ぼんやり is not a perfect formal word, and can be both polite and casual ways of saying to anyone. 「[最近]{さいきん}なんだかぼーっとしてる」or 「最近なんとなくぼーっとしてる」 sounds like you do so because you like to do so. If you say




Japanese people think it happens whether you like or not.


has the same meaning. With "a little",




is natural to say.


is a [敬語]{けいご} version.   



When I really need to use my brain but it doesn't work, I say 「[頭]{あたま}がまわらない」. This is one of common expressions in Japanese language. If 頭がまわらない, people can't be productive or energetic.   



This is frequently used in everyday conversation in Japan. いっぱいいっぱい means that you have things to do more than you can manage, and your overworked brain seems to be able to accept no more input. So your situation could be described like this


いっぱいいっぱい sounds like a childish word but actually everyone uses this; kids, women, men, seniors, really everyone in Japan. This is not a perfect formal word but we can use いっぱいいっぱい in [敬語]{けいご} conversation. Of course, in casual conversation too. When we want emphasize this, we say


If I were you, I would say

「[忙]{いそが}し[過]{す}ぎて[本当]{ほんとう}いっぱいいっぱいになってて、週末、頭ちゃんとまわってなかったみたい。ごめんね、あの[答]{こた}え、もう[一回]{いっかい}、[教]{おし}えてもらっていい? お[願]{ねが}い!(casual)」

to someone whose answer I've forgotten. The 敬語 version is



I guess that in everyday conversation, 「ぼうっと」, 「ぼんやり」 or 「[頭]{あたま}が[働]{はたら}かない」 has the closest meaning to "to be out of it". But other words might be better to use in some cases.

Other words examples:

「へろへろ」「へろへろ[気味]{ぎみ}」「[思考]{しこう}[停止]{ていし}[状態]{じょうたい}」 etc.

  • Wow, so cool, thank you so much!! I will need some time to study your answer! Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 11:24
  • I haven't actually finished reading yet but today I already used vocabulary from your awesome answer so: thank you! ^o^ Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 12:59


ぼーっと = out of it.

している here reveals a 状態 that is continuing.

I had originally and mistakenly supposed [没頭]{ぼっとう} which means "immersed in" (similar pronunciation), but a helpful nudge and an image search have corrected me on that point...

  • Thank you for your answer. If you want to say "I've been feeling a little out of it lately" would you say 最近なんとなくぼーっとしてる or 最近なんだかぼーっとしてる or something else? Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 6:56
  • Or is it better if I ask a new question for this? Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 6:57
  • I'm not actually sure if that's the same "be out of it" that I answered. "I've been feeling a little out of it lately" sounds like you're feeling slightly depressed (at least to me as a native speaker of AmE), but I answered for "spacing out" meaning of "out of it" ...
    – virmaior
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 7:49
  • @user213845: I think ぼーっとしている. = out of it in the sense that one cannot concentrate due to a cold or a headache, say. If you mean "feel alienated," "feel depressed," or "drunk" by "out of it", you should look for other Japanese expressions.
    – eltonjohn
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 8:09
  • 2
    @user213845: <a word that leaves it open for what reason I'm out of it> Then I think 心{こころ}此処{ここ}にあらず can cover some of (if not all) the cases.
    – eltonjohn
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 10:19

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