What does くらい mean in this context?


Primarily, くらい means "approximately", or "about". But if I translate this sentence (via Google Translate), it gives me "It's surprisingly late, isn't it?". No word "approximately" or "about" in the translation. How to translate that sentence properly?


2 Answers 2


くらい (= [位]{くらい}) has the meanings "degree" "extent" "amount".

(It can be rephrased as びっくりするほど (= [程]{ほど}).)

「XXくらいYY」/「XXほどYY」 means "YY to the extent/degree that XX"

So びっくりするくらい遅い means lit. "late/slow to the extent that I get surprised" → "It's so slow/late that I'm surprised", "It's surprisingly late/slow."


I think it's just a hedging word, a lot like the ね at the end of the sentence. So it's used to make the sentence sound softer. I'd translate it as "Kinda surprising how late it is, huh?"

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