25

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 – broccoli forest Jan 8 '16 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 '16 at 14:35
  • What are the red bars for in the characters yare yare? – Max Li Dec 19 '16 at 6:13
  • @Max Li The red lines are a way to show the tone rising or falling. – cloveapple Aug 14 '17 at 19:15
  • I usually use it as "what a burden--" (was/is/going to be) – nodws Jul 23 '18 at 19:11
28

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.


PS

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 '16 at 13:03
  • Nice test for mimetic words you got there. Does Xした様子で work for every gitaigo? – melboiko Aug 13 '17 at 12:35
  • @leoboiko Well, I think it works fairly well, but sometimes you must change the last noun accordingly. – broccoli forest Aug 14 '17 at 10:38
10

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 '16 at 8:01
  • 1
    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.' – Yoichi Oishi Jan 10 '16 at 8:28
  • すみません、ちょっと気になったんでお尋ねしますが「Readers Japanese-English Dictionary」とは「リーダーズ和英辞典」ということでしょうか。確かリーダーズのシリーズに和英辞典は出版されていませんよね・・・(「readers・(英語を)読‌​む人」のための辞書ですし・・・) – Chocolate Jan 11 '16 at 5:32
  • 1
    Choko-san. Oop! The Readers Japanese-English Dictionary that I reffered is 研究社和英中辞典. As I've been long using Canon's digital dictionary, which comes in リーダーズ英和 / リーダーズ/プラス and 研究社新和英中辞典、I've been under the misconception that I've been using Readers Japanese-English Dictionary all through the period of almost ten years. – Yoichi Oishi Jan 11 '16 at 7:21
3

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

  • +1 ご説明いただきありがとうございます – Educ Jan 8 '16 at 13:03
2

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!"

  • I personally think "Good grief" is a perfect translation for it. – Retrysky Aug 13 '17 at 11:25
0

yare yare is like good greif - watch the disastrous life of saiki k. anime

-1

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

  • yeah that's what crunchyroll.com translated as boy oh boy or my oh my – Educ Jan 8 '16 at 21:53
  • That's because that's pretty much what it means... – www.debug.coach Jan 11 '16 at 11:33

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