I'm studding for the JLPT and found a phrase よくしゃれを言う人。After I looked up the definition of しゃれ I assumed the phrase meant "jokester". But what is the difference between しゃれ and 冗談?

I kind of got the idea that しゃれ is more of a witty comment. Is that right? I would also assume you can't say "しゃれだったよ!" like "冗談だった!" for "just kidding!" or "I was just joking"

  • Related: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/59759/1628
    – Earthliŋ
    Jul 12, 2018 at 21:36
  • 2
    「よくしゃれを言う人」という場合の「しゃれ」は、pun、語呂合わせのことじゃないですかね。。 冗談じゃない真面目なシャレもありますよね。
    – chocolate
    Jul 12, 2018 at 23:14

1 Answer 1


According to the all-knowing Chiebukuro, apparently 洒落{しゃれ} is used for smart/witty comments or jokes, usually with the intention to make someone laugh, while 冗談{じょうだん} could refer to things like teasing, fooling around or making fun of someone. So it seems "しゃれだったよ!" is not a correct usage for "just kidding!".

Then there is おしゃれ used to refer to fashionable/trendy/stylish/elegant people or things.

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