What is this phrase 「ノリが悪い」? I've seen it in a few places, but I haven't been able to find it in a dictionary yet. I had first thought it meant that "the seaweed was bad".

What is the meaning of this phrase and where does it come from?

2 Answers 2


I have two phrases with this word:

ノリが悪い人| someone who never joins in

この曲はノリがいい| this song has a good beat

They come from 総まとめ 語彙 N2.

As for origin, I think it might come from expressions close to: 相談に乗る or リズムに乗って踊る (dance to the music)* which have been adopted in similar fashion to arrive at ウケがいい:

若者に受ける映画|that movie that is very popular among young people =>

ギャグがウケなかった|the joke did not go down very well =>

ウケがいい|very popular

(From: 総まとめ 語彙 N1)

But somebody else may have a more firm insight


*Similar expressions I find easy to remember are:

調子に乗っていると 失敗するよ|You'll fail if you get carried away too much

経済が回復軌道に乗る| "The economy will gets back on recovery track" (lit: back into orbit)

  • 3
    Apparently the origin is from Noh theatre, where ノリ is the term used for the counting of the rhythm. If you had good rhythm ノリが良い, if you didn't ノリが悪い. Which makes sense, as it basically means you don't fit in with the group, or your our of rhythm with the group.
    – Jeemusu
    Aug 25, 2012 at 3:18
  • 2
    Nice! I presume that the ノリ from 能 theatre comes from 乗る, though, as Tim suggested...? Two of the many meanings of 乗る are "to get into the swing" or "to join/participate". Pity we don't have a different 漢字 for these concepts, like we have for 載る...
    – Earthliŋ
    Aug 25, 2012 at 3:27

And don't forget the very useful ノリノリ, which basically means ノリが良い. I was at a club once and one of my American friends named Thomas ran out and started dancing like crazy. My Japanese friend turned to me and said, トマス、ノリノリだね。

  • Oops...meant this to be a comment under the answer above, but I'm not sure how to fix it now. Aug 25, 2012 at 19:27
  • Ah I've done that too, and someone told me I couldn't post a comment till I got 50 reputations...
    – user1016
    Aug 26, 2012 at 2:06

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