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A daughter is telling her dad about an incident that happened at school. He replies:

「へー、そりゃえれぇことになっちまったな」

I think this is the same as:

「へー、それはえらいことになってしまったな」

I don't understand the meaning of えれぇ in this sentence. I'm translating it as

This has ended up becoming a famous event.

but she is telling him on the same evening as the incident happened so 'famous' doesn't seem likely. Is there a more obvious translation that fits the context?

2 Answers 2

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えらい can have a positive or negative meaning depending on context:

When talking about a person of great status for example you'd refer to them as えらい人 and it has a positive meaning

but here since it's an event and an incident at that the meaning becomes like 大変な or 非常に and means something like: very/ extreemely, it has a negative nuance that is implied and the meaning becomes somthing like:

This has ended up being a terrible event.

So it's all dependent on context whether it means great, good or terribe, bad etc.

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http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/25542/meaning/m0u/
2 物事の状態が普通ではないさま。
㋐程度がはなはだしい。ひどい。「今日は―・く寒い」「―・い混雑だった」
㋑予想外である。ひどく困ったさまである。「―・い目にあった」
㋒苦しい。つらい。しんどい。「歩きどおしでからだが―・い」

えらいこと usually means this: ㋑予想外である。ひどく困ったさまである。「―・い目にあった」 --- or possibly ㋐程度がはなはだしい。ひどい。「今日は―・く寒い」「―・い混雑だった」

jisho.org/search えらいこと

  • awful; terrible (Usually written using kana alone) -- 妻はアメリカでの新しい生活のリズムに慣れるのにえらい苦労した。 == My wife had a hard time getting into the swing of our new life in America.

  • 吹雪でえらい目に遭った。== We had a terrible time in the blizzard.

  • 偉いこっちゃ== 1. What are we going to do?; uh-oh; oh crap (Usually written using kana alone, Kansai dialect)

「えらいこっちゃ」 == 大変なことだ

えらいことや --> えらいこっちゃ

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