I have a sentence which says,


The dictionary says the word means; incredible, extraordinary, exceptional or phenomenal, but it doesn't really make sense when translated into English. What does ケタ外れ mean here? What does it imply?

1 Answer 1


ケタ is 桁 which in this context can be understood as "standard/norm" or "reference frame" and 外れ means something like it "falls out of the reference frame" — like when people use 120%.

You can see how in some contexts this could be translated the way you listed (incredible, extraordinary, exceptional or phenomenal), but here it should probably be translated in a more neutral tone.

  • 1
    Do you think in this context, it could mean something close to “extreme compared to now”? I assume the author is saying that the number of people living alone is going to increase dramatically. Sep 3, 2019 at 0:49
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    Technically speaking, ケタ (桁) means "digit places" here. It comes from rods that hold beads in the abacus. So 桁外れ means that some amount has a different order of magnitude than others. Sep 4, 2019 at 6:53

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