I would like to know what the meaning of the expression やれ{HL}やれ{HL} Yare Yare is? I hear it often said in anime.

  • some people said "that yare yare is another japanese onomatopoeia. Kind of like pera pera, gira gira, goro goro, etc.
  • some others think "it has to do with the sound a person make when he/she is tired, you know that sound when you are taking a break and you hear yourself breathe heavily. Yare yare doesn't have a direct translation... it is just an onomatopoeia that describes the sound of being relaxed. Japanese just hear that sound differently, they hear "yare yare"."
  • crunchyroll funimation hulu theanimenetwork nicovideo daisuki translated as boy oh boy or my oh my

  • Is that true?

  • Oops. Duplicate? japanese.stackexchange.com/q/9561/7810 Jan 8, 2016 at 13:58
  • but most people when we want to looking for that word they using english word : yare yare not やれやれだ
    – Educ
    Jan 8, 2016 at 14:35
  • 1
    What are the red bars for in the characters yare yare?
    – Jack Pan
    Dec 19, 2016 at 6:13
  • 2
    @Max Li The red lines are a way to show the tone rising or falling.
    – cloveapple
    Aug 14, 2017 at 19:15
  • I usually use it as "what a burden--" (was/is/going to be)
    – nodws
    Jul 23, 2018 at 19:11

5 Answers 5


No, やれ{HL}やれ{HL} is not an onomatopoeia but an interjection. It doesn't symbolize any sound or state, and cannot used like other onomatopoeiae:

× やれやれという音を立てて
× やれやれした様子で

But as you said, it's true that this word has no fixed translation in English.

For example, Haruki Murakami is known to use this expression repeatedly as one of his signature style, and his translators have taken several ways to transfer it to English. According to this page, 7 out of 8 appearances of it in A Wild Sheep Chase was translated (by Alfred Birnbaum) as:

Just great.

while the last one as:

Give me a break.

Further, in newer 1Q84 tr. by Jay Rubin & J. Philip Gabriel it's like:

Damn. What was the point of locking the place so securely?
Oh, great. Things really are not going to go smoothly. I knew it.
After the Queen video ended, ABBA came on. Oh, no.
Oh, man,” Aomame sighed, pressing her temples.


For its descriptive meaning, I think this answer would suffice. Note again that we certainly use this expression when English speakers likely to say *sigh*, but it's not a sound of sighing neither.

  • +1 Arigato ご説明いただきありがとうございます
    – Educ
    Jan 8, 2016 at 13:03
  • Nice test for mimetic words you got there. Does Xした様子で work for every gitaigo? Aug 13, 2017 at 12:35
  • @leoboiko Well, I think it works fairly well, but sometimes you must change the last noun accordingly. Aug 14, 2017 at 10:38

やれ、やれ is an interjection often uttered when ① you are relieved from a burden or mental pressure, or ② when you have some burden or a little problem ahead, for example:

①やれやれ、[一仕事]{ひとしごと}終わった - Oh boy, I’ve finished this job.

やれやれ、やっと[飯]{めし}が[炊]{た}けた - Here we go! Rice is done.

やれやれ、借金も終わって[肩]{かた}の[荷]{に}が[下]{お}りた - Thank God. I settled the loans. I'm now free from the burden.

やれやれ、[一安心]{ひとあんしん} - Whew. Now I feel easy.

②やれやれ、まだそれをやらなければならないの - Oh boy, do I have to deal with that (task) again?

やれやれ、また電話か? - Dammit, another (bothersome) phone call.

やれやれ、あのガキがまた[悪戯]{いたずら}した - By gosh! That naughty boy did that hoax again.

Just for your information, New Japanese-English Dictionary published by Kenkyusha carries 'Oh boy' and 'whew' as interjections equivalent to やれやれ. And Readers Japanese-English Dictionary provides 'Ohf!, Oh dear! Dear me, Dear,' as equivalents to やれやれ for expressing a surprise, and 'Ah! Thank God that over' for expressing a sign of relief.

  • I'm assuming this is derived from やれ, a command form of the verb やる. You'd feel burden on your shoulder when you are not willing to do something, right? Then it makes sense to me a lot. Japanese also tend to like four moras, therefore, we say やれやれ. Just my assumption though.
    – nomithekid
    Jan 10, 2016 at 8:01
  • 2
    nomithekid. I don't think there's any connection between 'やれやれ,' a sort of sigh and 'やる' a synonym of 'する,' a verb meaning 'do.' Jan 10, 2016 at 8:28
  • I think it's related to 遣る瀬無い
    – Star Peep
    Mar 15 at 23:09

It's an interjection that mean kind like There you/he go again.... But as you said it's difficult to translate.


It's literally "sigh!" but in a loving way, it denotes patience from the one using the interjection. It is usually uttered by males in response to either children or women being difficult. It's a positive and calm way of saying "good grief!"

  • 1
    I personally think "Good grief" is a perfect translation for it.
    – Retrysky
    Aug 13, 2017 at 11:25

YareYare is like...boy oh boy...

  • yeah that's what crunchyroll.com translated as boy oh boy or my oh my
    – Educ
    Jan 8, 2016 at 21:53
  • That's because that's pretty much what it means... Jan 11, 2016 at 11:33

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