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Noticed a word さらさら appearing on various products' packaging I've got from Japan. The main translation ("rustling sound") doesn't seem like something you'd ordinarily expect to see there... Especially on such a variety of products as tea, nappies and books (admittedly, might have been an ad on a plastic packaging for something else in the latter case). It is shown on front title side alongside the product description and brand name.

Here are a couple of examples I found around the house:

Nappies nappies

Tea enter image description here

So, what does this mean?

  • 4
    さらさら is a mimetic word symbolic of such related but varied qualities as "smoothness of texture," "freedom from wetness or ickiness," "ease or fluidity of movement," etc., in addition to a light, rustling sound. The word's aptness on diaper packages is easy to see, but as for tea and books, more information is needed to say in what sense it is used. – goldbrick Jul 10 '16 at 6:22
  • お茶は、おそらく顆粒タイプのものの宣伝文句かなと。本は・・わからん。いずれにせよ、この質問の仕方はちょっとね。他の語句も併せて教えてくれないとね。 – l'électeur Jul 10 '16 at 11:32
  • 「サラサラっと溶ける!」みたいな感じですね! – goldbrick Jul 10 '16 at 13:22
  • @goldhick Thanks, it might be the right answer. I've added some pics for context. If you write it as an answer, I'll accept it. – sashkello Jul 10 '16 at 23:35
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(As I noted in the comments,) さらさら is a mimetic word symbolic of such related but varied qualities as "smoothness of texture," "freedom from wetness or ickiness," "ease or fluidity of movement," etc., in addition to a light, rustling sound.

As for the nappies case, the word describes the dryness and comfortableness of the material (and the retention of it over the course of use).

More interesting is the tea example, which encompasses all the meanings and qualities mentioned above, and speaks to the range of ideas one use of an onomatopoeia, or any word, can express at once. This さらさら evokes to my mind the image of: dry grains of tea making a soft, rustling sound as they flow down into the cup, dissolving easily upon contact with the (hot) water therein. (See the image on the package.)

さらさら is a positive description, partly explaining (along with the brevity) its ubiquity in the marketing messages for commercial products.

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さらさら means that something is less sticky and to be smoothly rubbed.

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It is most commonly used for shampoo. It means silky smooth. (Even to a lesser degree, you can use the word さらさら

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    I've heard さらさら in all sorts of contexts, so I wouldn't say "most commonly used for shampoo". – Earthliŋ Jul 10 '16 at 13:13
  • @Earthliŋ That's true, but find me a shampoo that doesn't say さらさら. Kind of a challenge, don't you think? It's an example. – ColdFusion Jul 10 '16 at 13:21

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