I found this line in the song,”三年目の浮気”:

よくいうよ 惚れたお前の負けだよ How can you say that...you fell for me and lost

At first I thought it was the よく meaning often, but someone told me it was an abbreviation of よくも (善くも), which is translated as "How dare you?" If this is true, why does 善くも mean this?

If this is not the case, what does the よくいう mean here?

Here are some of the other lyrics:

(男)馬鹿いってんじゃないよ お前と俺は ケンカもしたけど ひとつ屋根の下暮らして来たんだぜ

Don't talk like that... Yes we fought, but we've been living under the same roof.

馬鹿いってんじゃないよ お前のことだけは 一日たりとも忘れたことなど なかった俺だぜ

Don't say such things... It's not like there has been even one day where I forgot you.

(女)よくいうわ いつもだましてばかりで 私が何んにも知らないとでも 思っているのね

What are you saying?.. you're always deceiving me... And you think that I don't know?

(男)よくいうよ 惚れたお前の負けだよ

What are you saying?.. you fell for me and lost

もてない男が好きなら 俺も考えなおすぜ

If you really liked guys who saw no action, I'd have to think you over too


  • 1
    1. Translation error: "but we still live ..." → "we have been living ... (for so long)" 2. I don't know the meaning of "see action", but the Japanese means "if you prefer a man who is not as popular among women as to be able to cheat on you, (go ahead and look for one, and) I will reconsider my partner".
    – user458
    May 28, 2012 at 6:22
  • a guy who sees no action is someone who is not popular with ladies = もてない
    – yadokari
    May 28, 2012 at 6:45

3 Answers 3


よく can be used as praise in regards to something which entails difficulties/trouble in some contexts (this is separate to the "often/well" meaning):

How wonderful it is that you were able to come!

But it can also be used ironically in that sense, which I think is how it's used in those lyrics:

How dare you say such a thing?
(Literally something like "How wonderful that you can say such a thing.")

よくも is a strengthened version of よく (according to Daijisen) used to express surprise/blame at awful behavior. The can be omitted and have the same "how dare..." meaning in many contexts.

If you look at the Progressive JE dictionary entry for よく, you'll see some more examples in the 5th and 6th definitions.

  • if よく(も)まあそんなことが言えますね means How dare you say such a thing? then what do you think よくいうよ means?
    – yadokari
    May 28, 2012 at 22:45
  • and what does よくいうよ mean in a non- ironic way?
    – yadokari
    May 28, 2012 at 22:46
  • 1
    I think よくいうよ literally means "how wonderful what you say is" or something, but I think it can mean a lot of things. Space ALC has quite a few examples: When used literally "now you're talking"/"I like that!"; ironically "give me a break" (in regards to lies/jokes/pranks etc, which I think is how it's used here), "That's such a lie"/"I can't believe what you're saying"/"what are you saying?" etc also work in many contexts. It also can often mean "look who's talking"/"pot calling the kettle black" etc.
    – cypher
    May 28, 2012 at 23:40

"よく言う" has more than three meanings. Here are three:

  1. 母は、外国に行ってみたいと、よく言っていた。= My mom often told me that she wanted to go abroad.

  2. 社長に、私のことを、よく言ってくれてありがとう = Thank you for speaking well of me to the president.

  3. よく、そんなことが言えるな。(an ironic expression) = How can you say such a silly thing? Give me a break.

In this example it is the third meaning.

  • 1
    – chocolate
    Mar 12 at 2:34

The よく here is neither the one meaning "often" nor is it abbreviated from よくも.

  • 4
    thanks. what does よくいう mean here then? "You talk a lot"/ (you talk too much)?
    – yadokari
    May 28, 2012 at 6:41
  • 1
    I thought so too (that よく was different from よくも), since I had never heard よくも言う, but then I googled it and saw many cases that seem legit. So now I'm not so sure. Personally, I would only use よくも with past tense, as in よくも叩いたな
    – dainichi
    May 29, 2012 at 3:44
  • 1
    @yadokari It means approximately "to shamelessly say something you should be ashamed to say".
    – dainichi
    May 29, 2012 at 3:45
  • I'm think about the same thing. It seems that the simple present tense can be used to praise (ironically) someone. いいこというね, やるね.
    – Yang Muye
    May 12, 2014 at 11:38

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