Recently, I stumbled upon a conversation which looked like this:

Girl - 器が小さい男じゃのよ!
Guy - どうせ器が小さいですよ!

The context here is that the girl wanted to do something to the guy that the guy didn’t want to happen, and the girl says the former line, to which the guy replies with the latter line.

I know that どうせ means either an inevitablity with giving up nuance, and can also have similar meaning to せっかくなら when used with conditionals. How does the meaning fit in here?

My guess would be that the どうせ kind of functions like an “of course I am going to be petty” or “I can’t do anything about it (since you are doing this to me).

Is one of my interpretations correct?

1 Answer 1


This どうせ is used in admitting some negative quality pointed out by someone else.

A: (お前は)Xだ
B: どうせXだ/ですよ

roughly corresponds to

A: You are X.
B: I know (You don't have to tell me).

(Here X=器が小さい).

The exact nuance depends on the relationship between A and B. It might be I know, so what? or I know...(feeling kind of sorry about there being nothing that can be done.).

From what you put in the question, I guess the particular case is closer to the latter.

  • So, どうせ carries a kind of fatalism, that nothing can be done about what the speaker said, and the nuance is rather being sorry(I know but there is no helping it) than being agitated and having an implied meaning of (of course/ I can’t do anything about it!)?
    – Mernn1
    Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 7:19
  • @Mernn1 I think it contains 'nothing can be done about it', but probably that is secondary. In neutral context, it is more irritation about being pointed out the obvious (I know I have that fault!)
    – sundowner
    Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 7:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .