I've seen several sources explain the colloquialism in different ways. One says the っちゃ is a slang way of saying よりの, as in ありよりのあり. Another says it's a slang way of saying と言えば as in ありと言えばあり (which I frankly find more likely).

Since both full sentences point to rather different sentiments (the affirming attitude of 'it more than exists' vs the unwilling 'well it is there') I thought I'd ask if there was anyone familiar with it.

Is it one of the two sentences, or am I misunderstanding the sentiment of one sentence, or is it a shortening of something else entirely?

  • ありっちゃあり is a very common expression, but it uses あり and from your translation "well it is there", it's hard to tell whether you understand how あり is used (e.g. in そういう人生もありだと思います).
    – Earthliŋ
    Sep 24 '15 at 18:20
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    I'm fully aware of how あり is used by itself yeah (something exists, something is possible, something is acceptable etc.), the 'well it is there' refers to the unwilling vibe I get from ありと言えばあり. I saw ありと言えばあり as "well when you say it [possibility, acceptance etc.] exists, it does, I don't disagree, but..." cue a complaint/reason it's lacking. It has the feeling of finding something lacking and barely meeting the standard for me. Like おいしいといえばおいしい(けどもっとおいしい食べ物を食べた)
    – user7541
    Sep 24 '15 at 18:32
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ありっちゃあり is indeed a contraction of ありといえばあり and it's a way of saying "yeah, sure, why not...".

As you say, it's completely parallel to おいしいといえばおいしい, just with あり (which means something like "something is possible/doable/acceptable/...").


〜っちゃ of ありっちゃあり is a contraction of と言{い}えば. So, ありっちゃあり is basically ありと言{い}えばあり 'it is possible if you say so (but...)'

ありっちゃあり is normally used to talk about a thing that has a high possibility, though the translation varies depending on what the verb あり indicates in context.

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