In one of the animes I've watched recently (can't recall the title), I heard words like "チーズ" (not sure if this is how it's spelt in katakana since I only heard the word, but as for how it's pronounced in English, it would most probably sound like cheeeeesee) and "をっと" (English pronunciation : wotto).

Judging from context, the former means "hello" and the latter, "whoops". And there is also "うわあ" (uwaa) which probably means "yikes" (I'm guessing, in a bad way, something like "やばっ") in English.

So the questions that arises are, since I am only translating based on context, I am not sure if they mean what I think they meant. Can anyone correct/ advice on this?

Secondly, are these words even used in real life (I have only heard them on anime) ?

2 Answers 2



If it sounded like 「チーズ」 and it was said in a scene where one would say "Hello!", it would almost have to be:

ちっす」、「ちーっす」, etc.

It is an informal and slangy "Hi!" that comes from 「こんにはっ」、「こんゃっ」, etc.

Naturally, this has nothing to do with cheese.


If this was uttered where you would expect to hear "Whoops!", then it would be:


・「うおっと」 (emphatic version of above)

It is an interjection uttered when you are surprised by something happening all of a sudden or when something catches your attention.



You heard this one right. It is an exclamation used in all kinds of situations.

You mentioned "Yikes!" and that would be one meaning of it. We use it upon seeing/hearing something we like as well. It is an all-purpose exclamation.

are these words even used in real life?

Yes, of course. All three are actively used among us native speakers in real life. You would, however, need to understand that 「ちっす」 is only used by certain (young) speakers in casual situations.

  • Absolutely brilliant answer. Thanks
    – Newbie
    Aug 24, 2019 at 4:18

As far as チーズ  goes, its just means "cheese". It is most often used in real life when talking about cheese, or before someone takes a picture. I'm also not sure what you mean when you say how it is "pronounced in English". Perhaps you are confusing pronouncing words with spelling them.

おっと does mean "whoops" for the most part, though I think like many phrases used in anime (うわぁ included), it is used to show focus on a characters reaction or feeling, something I don't think real people do. I can only think of one time I've ever heard it used in real life, and even then they were just being quirky. I hear しまった much more often when people are expressing a "whoops" feeling.

うわぁ is used to express a feeling of being stunned or in awe of something, I'm sure you saw a female character use it when seeing some beautiful scenery or food. I've never heard it used in real life. I would also venture to say it has a more positive connotation, not like やばい.

The only advice I can give you is that if you ask for help on a public forum about translating from context, it would be helpful to those answering if you provided that context (what was happening in the show when you heard the word/phraseとか). Also if you are using streaming services to watch anime, it helps to use Japanese subtitles. It is much easier to look up words when you can see them written out.

  • 2
    Alas many streaming services don't or can't offer Japanese subtitles. Aug 23, 2019 at 18:41
  • Did you read the Judging from context, the former means "hello" part in the question?
    – chocolate
    Aug 24, 2019 at 0:52
  • @Chocolate that's not quite the same as providing the context to allow someone else to make that judgment :)
    – hobbs
    Aug 24, 2019 at 1:13
  • 1
    Oh.. I was just unsure whether you'd realised OP was asking about a word that sounded like チーズ that was used in the context of saying hello, cos you wrote it just means "cheese". It is most often used in real life when talking about cheese, or before someone takes a picture.
    – chocolate
    Aug 24, 2019 at 1:17

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