Google translate なめた口 as "Licking Mouth" but I was sure it was not a right translation. I also tried to search for it on weblio & alc but didn't get any results... I do found alternative writing such as "なめた口を聞く" or "ナメ口きく"...

I read random image with that word and roughly see it as "talking lowly/bad about someone?", "looking down at someone" or "casual talk" . In anycase, it seems I cannot found out what it means...

Could you help to affirm the meaning of the phrase? And are there any resources to find translation of a phrase like this?


3 Answers 3


This entry might help, なめる means "to make fun of someone" or "to belittle someone" or "to make someone look stupid" so in the same way なめた口 means something along the lines of "with a mouth to make someone look stupid".

  • So is this a person who often makes fun of others, or a literally funny-looking mouth? Aug 15, 2016 at 21:22
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    @Mario Carneiro. "舐めた口をきく" and ”揶揄(からか)う - make fun of others" are different. "舐めた口をきく" means to talk in a cheeky manner (usually for a junior to underestimate a senior in the status ), while everybody can make a fun of everybody. A school teacher doesn't talk to a pupil in the class in an inpertnent manner, but the pupil does. Both a teacher and pupil can make a fun each other in a break time. Aug 16, 2016 at 0:32

舐(な)める has a broad meaning such as (1) to lick (a stamp), (2) taste (Popsicle / whisky), (3) experience (hardships) and (4) look down on / make light of (a person).

舐めた is an adjective form of ”舐(な)める” in (4) look down / take a derogatory attitude.

“口をきく” means to talk / speak. “舐め口” is a shortened form of “舐めた口.” Therefore “舐め口をきく” means to speak in the way of looking down the other, or talk in an insolent way.

In the same token, we often say “偉そうな口をきく” to describe the manner of talking in an arrogant manner, and admonish the young guy and subordinate who talks us back in an insolent manner by snapping “偉そうな(舐めた)口をきくな!- Shut up! Don’t be cheeky.”


It's usually difficult for a person over 50 y.o. to "なめた口を聞く" ... (unless he's being arrogant toward a 80-y.o. master or teacher)

So, "ナメた口を聞く" is strongly correlated with [teen-age impudence] or [being young and brash] -- Fresh, flip, flippant, (impertinent), insolent, pert, sassy, a saucy child (小)生意気な子供....


「◯◯さんに ナマ言ってんじゃねぇぞ」

The "impudence" sense of the word is etymologically unrelated to the licking/slurping/tasting sense.


......... 馬鹿にする,見下す,軽んじるという意味での「なめる」は,源氏物語にも出てくる「なめし(無礼し)」という形容詞の残存です。 「舐める」という動詞とは,後にたまたま語形が似通っただけで,語源的関連性はありません


「顔をなめる」とか「甘いからなめるのか」と思っていたらそうではなく 単に音が似ていただけというのは意外でした

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