I know it sounds funny, but my name is Omar, and one of my friends said that my name means "toilet for babies" in Japanese. I wanted to check if this is correct, because Google Translate did not help me.

I would appreciate if you would also give me some information about the word: explain weather or not it is a common word, formal or informal, etc.

  • Don't worry, a common English name "Ben" can also have negative connotations, however, there are many words with similar sounds in Japanese, so people do not usually think about stuff like that. – Jesse Good Oct 23 '12 at 4:05
  • Thank you very much. It's okay I am not worried at all. In fact, I think it would be a very funny conversation opener with Japanese people :D But I just wanted to make sure of it – Omar AlEisa Oct 23 '12 at 8:31
  • Also, as Jesse Good says, it is common for names in Japanese to be homophones for other words--even with Japanese names. The romanization of "Jordan" for example is a homophone for the word "joke". Even the Japanese name "Taku" means "table". Don't worry, with that on top of what ghorahn said about pronunciation, no one will poke fun or even think of a toilet under most circumstances. – Ataraxia Oct 23 '12 at 18:13

Firstly, your name cannot be pronounced in Japanese. It would be approxiamated as "omaru". The -r- here will be very different than what you are likely used too, though.

As for the word omaru, yes, it does indeed mean a portable toilet used for babies (and sickly people). If you read Japanese, you can read the definition here.

As explained in the definition, the verb mar-u meanings to excrete feces or urine.

  • It should be noted that the word おまる has been around for a long time (perhaps the Heian Period). – Jesse Good Oct 23 '12 at 4:00
  • @JesseGood Surely you mean the verb mar-u (not おまる), which has early citations from the 8th century (Nara). A nominalized form of this maru (a portable toilet for babies and the sick) dates from the 14th century. omaru with the same meaning dates from the 19th century. – Dono Oct 23 '12 at 11:46
  • Yes, you're right, I was thinking of まる not おまる. I remember reading about it somewhere and I was going off of memory. Thanks for the detailed info. – Jesse Good Oct 23 '12 at 12:36
  • Would the "o" bit be bikago? – Andrew Grimm Oct 24 '12 at 13:06

If I might add a dissenting interpretation to the existing answers....I think a minor change in pronunciation might alleviate your concern.

Note that, in the other answers, your name is being converted to romanized Japanese as 'omaru.' The 'o' at the beginning of this pronunciation would be very short and not accented.

I live in the US, and the gents I've known named Omar have generally pronounced their name with a bit of an accent on the 'O' at the beginning. Personally, I would romanize this as 'oumaru,' where the 'u' really just indicates a slightly elongated 'long O' sound at the beginning.

If you find yourself at Google Translate again, you might try listening to the difference in pronunciation between おまる (omaru) and おうまる (oumaru). (Note that the difference is simply how quickly the 'o' sound is spoken.)

'Oumaru' is the name of a city in Japan, I believe. And according to the Japanese/English dictionary I use, it is also seen as a surname in Japan. oumaru defined on jisho.org

Therefore, I'd suggest that, with a slight modification to how you pronounce your name, you can diffuse any misinterpretations. ^-^

Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm probably one of the ~less~ fluent people on this site. So if anyone strongly disagrees with what I say, I'd suggest you take their word over mine. (-.-);

  • 4
    The spelling would typically be オーマル. However, you should take a look at the various Omar entries in the Japanese Wikipedia. Most of them are オマル, but there are a few オマー, オマール, and even an ウマル. I could not find an オーマル. – Dono Oct 23 '12 at 4:17
  • I was going to suggest something to the effect of オマー, myself. While ル is often a valid katakana rendering of words ending in -r, Japanese seems to prefer taking the British English approach of not necessarily pronouncing it (e.g. カー "car", バー "bar"). – Kaji Mar 18 '14 at 18:38

Yup. You hear correctly おまる (Omaru) means potty (baby toilet) or bedpan.

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