Complete A to Z of Janglish (Japanese English)

PDF version for easy storing and printing: Janglish A to Z dictionary

The TEFLtastic Janglish – English Dictionary – Updated January 2014

Janglish, more often called Japlish, Japanese English or Wasei Eigo, is used here to mean English words and expressions that are used in Japanese in different ways to British and American English. This is something that has a big impact on how the Japanese communicate in English and on the difficulty of communicating in Japanese. It is of course impossible to have a complete dictionary, if only because new examples are being created all the time, but this list is pretty much complete in the sense of not excluding as it includes:

– Japanese words and expressions made from English words and affixes

– Words and expressions that have different, more restricted or more wide-ranging meanings in Japanese

– Japanese abbreviations of English words and expressions

– Some slang, old-fashioned, jargon and written forms that might not be recognised by the majority of Japanese

– Irregular pronunciation changes

– Words from other languages that Japanese sometimes assume to be English

– Some rude words

The biggest group that has been excluded is words and expressions that have different pronunciation in Japanese than in English in predictable ways, as the 5000 or so words that would include would overwhelm the more interesting and/ or troublesome examples given here without adding much to the guide to typical pronunciation changes I wrote here: As it is there are over 1100 examples here, making it much more comprehensive than many of the English-language guides to this point that you can pay good money for. I’ll also be posting some more limited selections later for those with less interest in this topic than me. I’m also going to be writing about similarities to other languages, so if you know any of the below are used elsewhere I’d love to know.


Entries are arranged alphabetically by the English (or other language) word(s) that the Japanese is derived from, followed by a pronunciation guide in brackets. The pronunciation is based on the way it is written in katakana, so doubled vowel sounds are longer versions of the short sounds and not always similar to typical English spelling. For example, “ee” is a long “e” sound that is similar to the “ay” in “pay” rather than the “ee” in “deep”, which is “ii” in this dictionary.

1. A class (ei kurasu) – top class/ first rate

2. accel (akkuseru) – short for (car) accelerator, and (almost?) always used in place of the longer form

3. accent (akusento) – word and sentence stress (not the way you speak that shows where you come from)

4. accessory (akusesorii) – includes jewellery

5. achieve (achiibu) – short for achievement test

6. acryl (akuriru, short for acrylic) – any kind of hard plastic, in contrast with vinyl (biniiru), which is any kind of flexible plastic

7. adapter (adaputaa) – power supply/ transformer, e.g. of a laptop

8. aerobic (earoobikku) – aerobics

9. aerobike (earo baiku, presumably from aerobic + bike) – exercise bike

10. aerosol (easooru) – note the silent r

11. af reco (afu reko, short for after recording) – dubbing sounds onto a film, as “dubbing” in Japanese just means recording more generally, e.g. tape to tape recording

12. after care (aafuta kea) – product maintenance/ after sales service

13. after service (afutaa saabisu) – after sales service

14. after sun care (afutaa san kea) – after sun (cream/ lotion)

15. agi (aji, short for agitation) – provocative

16. agi bill (aji bira, from agitation bill) – political flyers and poster

17. agit (ajito, short for agitating point) – hiding place/ meeting place (e.g. a café) for revolutionaries

18. air con (ea kon, short for air conditioner) – a machine that both cools and heats air, as one that just cools is a “kuura” (cooler)

19. air pocket (ea poketto) – air pocket/ blind spot

20. alcohol (arukooru) – note no h sound, probably due to coming to Japanese through another European language

21. alkali (arukari) – note short last vowel sound

22. all back (ooru bakku) – swept back hair

23. almighty (oorumaitii) – supreme/ dominating (and so used more than the English word, e.g. in sports)

24. all ri (ooru rai, short for “all right”) – (only) used when backing up a car or truck

25. Allergie (arerugii, from German) – allergy. Note the hard g sound

26. alumi (arumi) – short for aluminium

27. alumi foil (arumi hoiru) – short for aluminium foil/ silver foil, e.g. in kitchen

28. alumite (arumaito) – aluminium oxide

29. ama – short for amateur

30. Ame foot (ame fuuto) – short for American football

31. American/ American coffee (amerikan kohii) – Americano, i.e. a weak coffee

32. ampere (ampea) – the only way of saying amps (electrical measurement). Amp (ampu) only means amplifier

33. anchor (anka) – news anchor, but not a boat anchor

34. anime (anime) – any kind of animation, not just Japanese

35. antenna shop (antenna shoppu) – a shop selling regional specialities in a big city, e.g. Akita food and drink in Tokyo

36. apart (apaato, short for apartment) – wooden two story block of flats, as opposed to a “mansion”

37. appli (apuri) – short for (tablet or smartphone) application, and more common than the longer form. “App” is not used.

38. appo (apo) – short for appointment

39. appoint (apointo) – short for appointment

40. April Fool (eepuriru fuuru) – April Fool’s Day, not the person who is fooled on that day

41. Arbeit (aabaito, from the German word for work) – temporary work/ casual work

42. Argentine (aruzenchin) – Argentina

43. arm curl (aamu kaaru) – (biceps) curls

44. aro fo – short for (the age) around forty

45. Asia (ajia) – note the short first vowel sound

46. at home (atto hoomu) – cosy/ relaxed atmosphere. Similar to the expression “make yourself at home”, but used as an adjective

47. attack (atakku) – take on a challenge/ go for it/ aiming for a difficult goal

48. auto bi (ooto bai- from “automatic” and “bike”) – motorbike

49. auto parlour (ooto paaraa) – automat

50. auto race (ooto reesu) – motor racing

51. autolock (ootorokku) – self-locking (door etc)

52. automa (ootoma) – short for automatic (for cars)/ automation

53. AV (ei bii) – short for both audio visual and adult video (as in AV model), so easily confused!

54. AV model (ei bii moderu, short for adult video model) – porn actress

55. avant guerre (aban gea, from French) – before the war

56. avec (abekku, from the French for “with”) – a couple, i.e. boyfriend and girlfriend.

57. B1/ B2 (bii wan, bii tsu) etc – basement floors. Mainly a written abbreviation, e.g. on staircases and in elevators, but can be used to give directions orally.

58. ba u (bea, short for base up) – pay raise

59. baby bed (beibi beddo) – cot

60. baby car (beibi kaa) – pushchair/ buggy

61. baby circle (bebii saakuru) – playpen

62. babysitter (beibishitta) – usually means nanny or au pair, but also same meaning as English (although the concept is much rarer in Japan)

63. back (bakku) – a defender (in football)/ reverse (for a car)/ doggy style (sex)

64. back home (bakku hoomu) – baseball command meaning “Throw the ball to the plate”

65. back mirror (bakku miraa) – (car) rear view mirror

66. back net (bakku netto) – backstop (in baseball)

67. bacon (beikon) – Japanese bacon is always sold ready cooked, making it a bit like ham

68. bag (baggu) – usually a handbag, shoulder bag or similar, not plastic or paper bags

69. Bahama – Bahamas

70. ball pen (booru pen) – ballpoint pen/ biro

71. band man (bando man) – band member

72. band master (bando masutaa) – bandleader

73. bar code (baa koodo) – comb over haircut

74. bare shoulder dress (bea shorudaa doresu) – off the shoulder dress

75. bargain/ bargain sale (baagen seiru) – sales, e.g. summer sales

76. barracks (barakku) – decrepit buildings

77. Barriquand (barikan, from an old trade name) – hair clippers

78. barten (baaten) – short for bartender

79. base up (beisu appu) – all round pay raises (see also the short form ba u)

80. basket (basuketto) – basketball

81. bass (basu) – pronounced the same as “bus” and “bath”

82. baton girl (baton gaaru) – majorette

83. baton touch (baton tacchi) – to pass the torch

84. batter box (battaa bokkusu) – batter’s box (in baseball)

85. bed cover (beddo kabaa) – bedspread

86. bed in (beddo in) – go to bed together

87. bed town (beddo taun) – commuter town/ dormitory town

88. beit (baito, short for the German word for work, Arbeit) – a temporary or casual job

89. Belgie (berugi, from French) – note the hard g

90. belt conveyor (beruto conebeiyo) – conveyor belt

91. best dresser (besuto doresaa) – best dressed woman or man

92. best ten (besuto ten) – top ten

93. BGM (bii jii emu) – background music (an authentic genre that people choose as their favourite!)

94. BGV (bii jii bui) – background video, meaning relaxing videos without any narrative, usually accompanied by BGM (see above)

95. bian – short for lesbian

96. bike (baiku) – usually only used for motorbikes, although “mountain bike” is a kind of bicycle as in English

97. bill (bira) – only used for flyers/ leaflets. Note the final vowel sound, making it different from the short form of building (biru)

98. billiard (biriyaado) – billiards, snooker or (most commonly) pool

99. blank (buranku) – blank/ absence

100. blazer coat (bureiza kooto) – blazer

101. blik (buriki, from Dutch) – tin plate

102. blind (buraindo) – shutters

103. blow (buroo) – blow dry

104. body buil (bodii biru) – short for body building

105. body check (bodii chekku) – frisk/ body search (so nothing to do with contact sports)

106. body con (bodii kon, short for “body consciousness”) – ultratight clothes warn in the late 80s and early 90s (also used in English, but probably more common in Japanese)

107. body shampoo (bodii shampuu) – shower gel

108. bond (bondo) – very strong adhesive

109. bottle keep (botturu kiipu) – a system where you buy a whole bottle and can continue drinking it next time you come to the same bar or izakaya

110. bottom (botomu) – your bottom half, rather than just your arse

111. bound (baundo) – bounce of a ball

112. boy (booi) – bell boy/ porter

113. boyfriend (booifurendo) – both male friend and boyfriend

114. Bra Pi (bura pi) – short for Brad Pitt, and much more common than the use of his full name

115. brassie (buraja, short for brassiere) – bra

116. brief (buriifu) – briefs (underpants) and kind of document. Note the lack of an s

117. broken (burookun) – only has the language meaning, as in “broken English” and doesn’t need to go directly before the noun as it does in English so sentences like “my English is broken” are quite common

118. broker (burookaa) – stockbroker

119. bromide (bromaido) – single photo (e.g. of a movie star)

120. BS (bii esu, from broadcast satellite) – satellite television, so not necessarily b.s. with the English meaning!

121. bubble (baburu) – only economic meaning. Soap bubbles are “shabon”, from Portuguese

122. bubbler (baburaa) – hubble bubble/ bong

123. buil (biru, short for building) – office building (not buildings more generally, which is “tatemono”)

124. bungalow (bangaroo) – cabin, so usually something quite basic

125. bus jack (basu jakku) – hijacking of a bus

126. bust (basuto) – measurement, not that part of the body

127. byplayer (bai pureya) – supporting actor/ bit part player

128. cab (kyabu) – short for carburettor

129. caba clu (kyaba kura, short for cabaret club) – a kind of hostess club

130. cabaret (kabaree) – part of the sex industry

131. café press (kafee puresu) – cafetiere

132. cake (keiki) – fancy cake only, as anything pastry-like is “pan” (bread)

133. called game (koorudo geemu) – a baseball game which is called off but still counts as a game (unlike noo geemu)

134. camera face (kamera feesu) – having a good camera face means being photogenic

135. cameraman (kameraman) – cameraman and photographer, so more general in Japanese than in English

136. camp (kampu) – campsite

137. camp in (kyampu in) – start training camp

138. campaign (kanpeen) – sales campaign/ period of particularly pushing products

139. camping car (kyampingu kaa) – camper van

140. canaria – canary, from the name of the islands in Spanish

141. cancel (kyanseru) – cancel/ cancellation

142. canvas (kanbusu) – paintings only, not the material more generally

143. cap (kyappu, short for captain) – head of a team of reporters

144. capa (from Portuguese) – rainproof coat

145. car navi (kaa nabi) – satellite navigation

146. career up (kyaria appu) – improve your career

147. case by case (keisu bai keisu) – on a case by case basis/ it depends/ decide as we go along. More common in Japanese than in English.

148. casher (kyasshaa) – cashier

149. cashing (kashingu) – withdrawing cash using your credit card, often done in dodgy back offices for a commission as a way of paying off one credit card with another (as you have to pay credit cards off in full every month in Japan hence, you would think, nullifying their name!)

150. castella (kasutera, from Spanish) – type of sponge cake

151. catch ball (katchi booru) – playing catch

152. catch copy (kyatchi kopi) – copy (as in what a copywriter writes)

153. catch phone (katchi foon) – call waiting

154. catchphrase (katchifureezu) – catchphrase/ slogan/ motto

155. cauliflower (kariifurawaa) – note the first vowel sound

156. centi (senchi) – short for centimeters. Same pronunciation as the Japanese short form of sentimental

157. cereal (shiiriau) – only breakfast cereals, not as a category of food/ plants

158. chack (chakku) – zip

159. chalk (chako or chooku) – the first pronunciation (chako) only refers to chalk used to mark places in sewing, whereas chooku is used for blackboard chalk. The latter has the same pronunciation as “(car) choke”

160. challenge (charenji suru) – undertake something difficult/ do your best, so in Japanese you challenge something rather than someone. Similar to the English noun “challenge”, but very different to the verb

161. change court (chenji kooto) – change ends (in tennis etc)

162. change lever (chenji rebaa) – gearstick. Note the pronunciation of lever

163. charm point (chaamu pointo) – attractive qualities

164. charming (chaamingu) – (physically) attractive

165. check point (chekku pointo) – something that needs checking, i.e. thing on a checklist, so not a place where people are stopped before they can continue down a street

166. cheek dance (chiiku dansu) – dancing cheek to cheek

167. cheer girl (chia gaaru) – cheerleader

168. chemical shoes (kemikaru shuuzu) – shoes made from plastic

169. chief (chiifu) – chief/ head/ leader (and therefore used more in Japanese than in English)

170. China dress (chaina doresu) – cheongsam

171. choco (choko) – short for chocolate, and used much more than the full word

172. choco bar (choko baa, short for chocolate bar) – Mars Bar etc

173. choke (chooku) – car choke. Same pronunciation as “chalk”

174. chorus (koorusu) – choral singing/ a choir

175. Christmas (kurisumasu) – Christmas Day (rather than the whole holiday season)

176. Christo (kirisuto, from Portuguese) – Christ

177. Chrom (kurom, from German) – chrome. Note the first vowel sound

178. cider (saidaa) – soda/ lemonade, so no connection to apples and no alcohol

179. claim (kureimu) – complaint/ demand

180. claimer (kureimaa) – a demanding customer

181. classic (kurashikku) – (western) classical music, not classic pop

182. clay (kurei) – only for clay court tennis, not more generally for the material used to make pottery

183. cleaning (kuriiningu) – the usual word for dry cleaning and also used for house cleaning services, but not cleaning more generally

184. clip (kurippu) – short for paper clip

185. cloak (kurooku) – cloakroom, not a cape

186. close (kuroozu) – closed (only really on signs on shop doors, and very rarely in conversation)

187. close up (kuroozu appu) – note the z sound

188. closed sale (kuroosudu seiru) – closing down sale

189. club (kurabu) – usually means something like a jazz club or private club with people sitting round tables rather than a kind of disco, although when “clubbing” is used it has the English meaning

190. club sand (kurabu sando) – short for club sandwich

191. CM (shii emu, short for commercial message) – a radio or TV ad

192. CM song (shii emu songu, short for commercial message song) – radio jingle

193. coat (kooto) – same pronunciation as “court”

194. cocaine (kokain) – note the ai sound instead of ei, like the spelling and like many other languages

195. cock (kokku or kokku-san) – a cook

196. cock (kokku) – tap for water or gas

197. cocktail (kakuteeru) – note the first vowel sound

198. cocoa (kokoa) – as in many languages, pronounced like the English spelling

199. cocotte (kokotto) – soufflé dish (not a casserole dish)

200. coffee milk (kohii miruku) – milk with coffee flavour, like a milkshake, and so different from milk coffee (white coffee)

201. coin laundry (koin randorii) – laundrette

202. collar shirt (karaa shatsu) – shirt with a collar

203. collectioner (korekushonaa) – collector

204. colour (karaa) – colour/ character

205. compa (konpa – short for company) – student social gathering

206. companion (konpanyon) – attractive female guide at a large exhibition

207. compass (konpasu) – drawing compass only, not the one for navigation. Apparently also used to mean pacing legs.

208. compe (konpe) – short for competition, and much more common than the full word

209. concours (konkooru- from French) – competition

210. condense milk (kondensu miruku) – condensed milk

211. condenser (kondensaa) – capacitor (so nothing to do with condensation, unlike the English meaning)

212. cone (koon) – ice cream cone etc, with same pronunciation as “corn”

213. conne (kone – short for connections) – old school tie etc connections/ being well connected

214. consent (konsento, maybe from concentric) – electric socket, never used with the meaning of giving consent

215. conserva (konsaaba) – short for conservative, meaning disliking change

216. container (kontaina) – only the shipping meaning, not more general meaning of Tupperware etc

217. conte (konto, from French) – little story/ skit

218. conveni (konbini) – short for convenience store, and much more common than the full expression

219. cool biz (kuuru bizu) – the government-led campaign to have people dress down during the summer at work and so use less air conditioning

220. cooler (kuura) – an air conditioner that only cools the air and doesn’t heat

221. co-op (koupo) – often part of the name of medium-level accommodation somewhere between cheap wooden two-storey “apart” (apaato) and more luxurious concrete, usually high-rise “mansion” (manshon), something like “heights” (haitsu)

222. corn (koon) – same pronunciation as “cone”

223. corn beef (kon biifu) – corned beef. Note the first vowel sound.

224. corner (koona) – section of shop or magazine, as in “cash corner” (place with ATMs). More a written form, and rarely used in conversation.

225. correpon – short for correspondence (meaning letters)

226. cosplay (kosupurei, short for “costume play”) – unlike the English borrowing of this expression, used for all dressing up (including kids), not just for anime characters

227. cottage cheese (katteeji chiizu) – note first vowel sound

228. country (kantori) – country club

229. course (koosu) – as well as the study meaning, often used for walking trails

230. court (kooto) – same pronunciation as “coat”

231. cracker (kurakkaa) – (cream) crackers and party poppers (Xmas crackers are basically unknown in Japan)

232. crank in (kuranku in suru) – starting to shoot a film

233. crawl (kurooru) – swimming only, not the way babies walk

234. cream soda (kuriimu soda) – ice cream float/ soda float/ coke float

235. Croatia (kuroachia) – note ch sound

236. croissant (kurowasan) – note the final vowel sound

237. croquis (kuroki, from French) – sketch

238. cuffs button (kafusu botan) – cufflink

239. culture centre (karucha sentaa) – cultural centre, e.g. local place for adult education

240. cunni (kunni) – short for cunnilingus

241. cunning (kanningu) – cheating in an exam, so not a personality word

242. cup (koppu) – certain kinds of glass

243. cup ramen (kappu raamen) – pot noodle

244. curl iron (kaaru airon) – curling tongs

245. curler (kaaraa) – curling tongs

246. curry rice (karee raisu) – Japanese-style curry

247. curry roux (karee ruu) – curry powder with flour, so just add water to make a curry sauce

248. cutter (kattaa) – a knife for cutting paper/ Stanley knife

249. Cyprus (kipurosu) – note k sound

250. Czech (cheko) – the Czech Republic


251. dead ball (deddo booru) – hit by a pitched baseball

252. dead heat (deddo hiito) – dead heat/ close game

253. deck (dekki) – plimsolls

254. decoration cake (dekoreishon keiki) – a fancy cake

255. defla (defure) – short for deflation, and always used in place of the longer expression

256. delivery health (deriburi herusu, often shortened to deri heri) – prostitute coming to your house or hotel room

257. dema (short for the German word demagogie) – false rumour (not just used to talk about politicians)

258. demerit (demeritto) – the standard way of saying “disadvantage”

259. demo (short for demonstration) – only means protests, not showing how to do something

260. denomi ( short for denomination) – currency devaluation

261. deep kiss (diipu kisu) – French kiss

262. depart (depaato) – short for department store, and the full expression is never used. Not used for departments of a company.

263. design hotel (desain hoteru) – a slightly better love hotel, so very different from the boutique hotel that this expression might make you think of

264. dessin (desan, from the French for drawing) – rough sketch

265. Deutsch (doitsu- from German) – both Germany and German

266. dia (daiya) – short for diamond, and used much more than the full word

267. dia (daiya, short for diagram) – railroad timetable

268. diary (daiarii) – only one that you write your thoughts about what has already happened (one you write your arrangements in is “techo”)

269. diet (daietto) – only for dieting, not more generally for what you eat and drink

270. digest (daijesto) – only meaning of summarizing, so not verb of digestion

271. dining kitchen (dainingu kitchin) – a combined kitchen and dining room (usually a sign of a small flat rather than of modern open plan design)

272. director (direkutaa) – only film director, not company executive

273. DK (dii kei, short for dining kitchen) – a combined kitchen and dining room

274. DM (dii emu, short for direct mail) – junk mail

275. dock (dokku) –medical check up (from docking a ship), usually as part of the expression “ningen dokku” (human dock)

276. doctor stop (dokutaa sutoppu) – a doctor banning you from doing something like smoking and drinking, apparently from a doctor stopping a boxing match

277. document (dokyumento) – documentary

278. document file (dokyumento fairu) – concertina file

279. doek (zukku, from Dutch) – for clogs

280. dollar shock (doru shokku) – the time when the yen was suddenly revalued against the dollar, being the second big shock to the economy after the oil shock and ultimately leading to the Japanese spending spree in America during the bubble years

281. don mi (don mai, from don’t mind) – in sports, a way of encouraging someone who failed at their first attempt

282. donor (donaa) – note short first vowel

283. door boy (doa booi) – doorman

284. door eye (doa ai) – peephole in a door (apparently –no one I know seems to have even heard of this one)

285. door mirror (doa miraa) – wing mirror (on a car)

286. door stopper (doa sutoppa) – door stop

287. double jacket (daburu jaketto) – double-breasted jacket

288. doz (dasu) – dozen (also as the spoken form)

289. DPE (dii pii ii or jii pii ii) – developing, printing and enlarging, meaning the services that a print shop offers

290. drama (dorama) – television or radio play, often something like a soap opera but usually not lasting years like soap operas do in many other countries

291. dressing (doresingu) – only salad dressing, not getting dressed or bandage

292. drive map (doraibu mappu) – road map

293. driver (doraiba) – screwdriver (sukuruudoraiba is only a cocktail, not a tool)

294. driveway (doraibuuei) – highway/ speedway

295. dry curry (dorai karee) – a bit like a spicy risotto

296. dry flower (dorai furawaa) – dried flowers

297. dry fruit (dorai fruutsu) – dried fruit

298. dryer (doraiyaa) – hair dryer

299. dubbing (dobingu) – recording, e.g. sticking all your old videos on DVDs

300. dump car (dampu kaa) – dump truck

301. dunk shoot (danku shuuto) – a dunk/ dunk shot

302. dust box (dasuto bokkusu) – trash can/ bin

303. DV (dii bii) – short for domestic violence

304. easy open (iiji opun) – easy to open

305. easy order (iiji oodoru) – semi-tailored suit

306. echo (eko) – the acoustics of a space

307. eco (eko, from ecological) – green/ environmentally friendly. Same pronunciation as “echo”

308. effecter (efekutaa) – effects pedal

309. Ege – Aegean (Sea)

310. Ego (ego, from German) – selfishness. Note the first vowel sound.

311. Eisbahn (aisu baan, from German) – icy road

312. Eishaken (aisuhaaken, from German) – ice piton

313. elec tone (ereku toon, short for electric tone, from a brand name) – electric organ

314. elegy (eregii) – ballad/ elegy

315. embrasser (anburasse, from French) – hug and/ or kiss

316. en sto (en suto, short for engine stop) – stalling a car

317. enamel (enameru) – patent leather or nail varnish

318. enamel shoes (enameru no kutsu) – patent leather shoes

319. encore (ankooru, from French) – note the first sound

320. Enerugii (from German) – energy

321. Enerugisch (enerugishu- from German) – energetic

322. engage ring (engaji ringu) – short for engagement ring, and much more used that the longer version or the Japanese equivalent

323. engine key (enjin kii) – ignition key

324. England/ English (igirisu) – both English and British

325. ennui (annyui, from French) – note the first sound

326. enquete (anketto, from the French for questionnaire) – (market research) survey

327. ensemble (ansanburu, from French) – note the first sound

328. entrée (antoree) – note the first sound

329. episode (episoodo) – unknown, interesting past event

330. era (aera or ira) – note the first vowel sound

331. ero – short for erotic

332. escape (esukeepu) – slipping out of a wrestler’s grip or slipping out of class or work (i.e. skiving/ skipping class)

333. este (esute- short for the French word « esthetique ») – plastic surgery/ beauty parlour

334. European plan (yooroppian puran) – room only, meals not included

335. eva milk (eba miruku) – short for evaporated milk, though its pronunciation also usefully suggests “ever” as in “lasts forever”

336. even (iibun) – even/ tie/ draw (i.e. also used for the final score)

337. evening (ibuningu) – evening dress

338. ex (ekisu, short for extract) – extract/ essence, usually used in cooking

339. excellent company (ekiserento kampanii) – blue chip company

340. extra (ekisutora) – spare (tyre etc)

341. eye line (ai rain) – eye liner

342. eye mate (ai meeto) – yellow stripe on pavement to help guide the blind/ guide dog for the blind

343. eyebrow (aiburoo) note the final O sound, rather than ow


344. face (feisu) – head of a racket

345. fagotto (from Italian) – bassoon

346. fami com (fami kon, short for family computer) – video game system (out of date expression)

347. fami res (fami resu) – short for family restaurant

348. family service (famirii saabisu) – special offer if there are enough people

349. fashion health (fasshon herusu) – something to do with the sex trade

350. fastener (fasunaa) – fastener/ zip

351. father (fazaa) – priest only, not used to mean daddy

352. feet (fiito) – also used for the singular of the measurement (“one feet”), and not used for parts of your body

353. fella (fera, short for fellatio) – a standard way of saying blow job

354. feminist (feminisuto) – a gentleman (a feminist is “woman libber”)

355. feti (fetchi) – short for fetishist

356. fighting (faitingu) – a cheer meaning something like “Come on!”

357. figure (figyua) – action figures, so not number or shape of your body

358. figure skate (figaa sukeito) – figure skating (this dropping of –ing is quite common)

359. filet (hire) – note h sound and silent t

360. film (firumu) – film for a camera, not used to mean a movie

361. finder (faindaa) – viewfinder (on camera)

362. fireman (faiaman) – relief pitcher (in baseball)

363. flooring (furooringu) – wooden flooring

364. fluke (furokku) – note the second vowel sound

365. flying start (furaingu sutaato) – false start, so a negative thing

366. Fohn (foon, from German) – hot, dry wind blown down from a mountain

367. follow wind (foroo uindo) – following wind, i.e. having the wind behind you

368. food fighter (fuudo faitaa) – competitive eater

369. fool (furu) – April fool only

370. footlight (futtoraito) – footlights or in the limelight

371. four ball (foa booru) – a kind of billiards

372. for here (foo hia) – the opposite of “take out”, mainly used for communication between café staff

373. form (hoomu) – short for “platform”, but note that it sounds more like “home”

374. foundation (faundeishon) – make up only, not the first stage of a new building

375. Frankfurt sausage (furankufuruto sooseeji) – frankfurter

376. free (furii) – short for freelance, but often meaning more like casual work and so much less generally positive than the English expression

377. free address (furii adoresu) – hot desking

378. free dial (furii daiyaru) – toll free number/ freephone

379. free pass (furii pasu) – all-day ticket (to a theme park, meaning you can go on all rides)

380. free size (furii saizu) – one size fits all

381. free soft (furii sofuto) – freeware

382. free talking (furii tookingu) – an open discussion/ a meeting with no agenda

383. freeter (furiitaa, from free + arbeiter) – a slacker/ someone with a McJob

384. freewriter (furiiraitaa) – freelance writer

385. freshman (furesshuman) – most often means “new employee”, though occasionally used with the first year student meaning

386. fried potato (furaido poteto) – chips/ French fries

387. front (furonto) – hotel reception/ front des

388. front glass (furonto garasu) – windshield/ windscreen

389. fruit parlour (furutsu paala) – upmarket coffee bar that sells lots of deserts (usually ice cream more than fruit) and is almost exclusively used by women who lunch (quite rare/ old-fashioned expression)

390. fruit punch (furuutsu ponchi) – a dessert similar to a fruit cocktail, so not a drink (which is panchi)

391. full base (furu beisu) – with the bases loaded (in baseball)

392. full course (fuuru koosu) – three course (or more) meal

393. G jan (jii jan, short for jeans jacket) – denim jacket

394. G pan (jii pan, short for jean pants) – jeans

395. g sp (jii supo) – short for G spot

396. ga cen (gee sen, short for game centre) – amusement arcade

397. gag (gyagu) – joke, usually a pun, as in “oyaji gyaggu” (a Dad joke)

398. gal (gyaru) – a particular fashion style involving tans and very heavy eye make up

399. galle (gyara, short for gallery) – art gallery or spectators

400. game centre (geimu sentaa) – amusement arcade/ video arcade

401. game soft (geimu sofuto) – computer games

402. gang (gyangu) – gang/ gangster

403. gas bombe (gasu bomube, from German) – gas cylinder

404. gasoline stand (gasorin sutando) – petrol station/ gas station

405. gate ball (geeto booru) – a kind of croquet

406. Gaze (gaaze, from German) – gauze/ cotton wool pads. Note final e sound.

407. gender free (jendaa furii) – unisex

408. Genom (genomu, from German) – genome. Note the hard g sound

409. Gerende (gerende, from German) – ski slopes

410. gesture game (jesuchaa geimu) – charades

411. gift card (gifuto kaado) – gift certificate, e.g. book token

412. gin tonic (jin tonikku) – note the missing “and”, as also in German, Korean, Spanish etc.

413. gird (gaado) – girder bridge

414. girl hunt (gaaru hanto) – when men go out to pick up women

415. glamour (gurama) – attractively buxom woman

416. glove box (guroobu bokkusu) – glove compartment

417. go sign (goo sain) – (metaphorical) green light

418. go stop (go sutoppu) – outdated expression for traffic lights

419. goal (gooru) – goal/ finishing line (in track sports)

420. goal in (gooru in suru) – (finally) achieving something, most often used for getting married

421. goal net (gooru netto) – net (in basketball)

422. goal ring (gooru ringu) – hoop (in basketball)

423. goggle (goguru) – goggles

424. golden hour (goruden awaa) – (TV) prime time

425. golden week (goruden wiiku) – a week in April or May when there are lots of public holidays in a row

426. gom (gomu, from Dutch) – rubber and rubber band

427. gom boat (gomu booto, from the Dutch for rubber) – inflatable dinghy

428. gondola (gondora) – window cleaning cradle

429. goo (guu) – short for good

430. good sense (guudo sensu) – good taste

431. gorgeous (goojasu) – gorgeous or, usually, luxurious. Not used for people.

432. goth loli (gosu loli) – gothic Lolita, a Japanese fashion

433. Gothic Lolita (goshikku rorita) – a style that combines Victorian frills with Gothic dark colours

434. gown (gaun) – dressing gown, not a fancy party dress

435. grade up (gureido appu suru) – upgrade

436. gravure (gurabia, short for photogravure) – girls in bikinis (A/V being girls without bikinis)

437. green car (guriin kaa) – first class carriage

438. gro (guro) – short for grotesque

439. ground (guraundo) – playground (school or park)

440. group sounds (guruupu saunzu) – Beatles-style 1960s guitar groups

441. guara (gyara- short for “guarantee”) – performance fee

442. guard man (gaado man) – security guard

443. Guinness Book (ginisu bukku) – Guinness Book of Records

444. guts pose (gatsu poosu) – putting up one fist to celebrate a good shot etc

445. gym (jim) – doesn’t include a school gymnasium and more common for boxing gyms than for sports clubs, although that is changing

446. gyps (gipsu, from German) – a plaster cast, and the material used to make it

447. H (etchi, from the first letter of “hentai”) – perverted/ sexual

448. hair colour (hea karaa) – hair dye, so not used to talk about natural colour

449. hair pin (hea pin) – hair clip

450. half (haafu) – mixed Japanese/ non-Japanese parentage (standard word that is not generally considered insulting)

451. half coat (haafu kooto) – short coat

452. ham egg (hamu eggu) – ham and eggs

453. hamburger steak (hambaagu suteeki) – a hamburger patty

454. handi – short for (golf) handicap

455. handkerchi (hankachi) – handkerchief, from a shortening of that word

456. handle (handoru) – steering wheel or handlebars of bike (perhaps from a time when it was a handle rather than a wheel), not door handle etc.

457. handle name (handoru neemu) – handle, as in CB slang

458. handmade (handomeido) – homemade (e.g. jam)

459. happening (hapuningu) – unexpected incident, so not an artistic event

460. happy end (happii endo) – happy ending

461. hard (haado) – hardware (not hard-core, and very rarely meaning difficult)

462. hash rice (hayashi raisu) – hash with rice, like a non-spicy curry rice

463. heading (heddingu) – a header (in football), and not a kind of section title

464. heading shoot (hedin shuuto) – a header towards goal

465. headphone (heddofon) – headphones, not including in-ear earphones

466. healing (hiiringu) – relaxing/ therapeutic (music etc)

467. health centre (herusu sentaa) – recreation centre, rather than a clinic

468. health meter (herusu miita) – bathroom scales (the Japanese “taijukei” is almost exclusively used in conversation, but you will see this written sometimes)

469. hearing test (hiaringu testo) – listening comprehension test, not a medical test on your ears

470. heights (haitsu) – often part of the name of medium-level accommodation somewhere between cheap wooden two-storey “apart” (apaato) and more luxurious concrete, usually high-rise “mansion” (manshon), something like a “co-op” (koopo)

471. heli (heri) – short for helicopter, so something like the English expression “chopper”

472. Hello Work (hero waaku) – the official and usually used name for government job centres

473. helmet (herumetto) – helmet/ hard hat (on a building site)/ riding hat

474. high collar (hai kara) – stylish/ snobbish (outdated slang)

475. high grade (hai gureido) – high quality anything (not just uranium)

476. high heel (hai hiiru) – high heels/ high heeled shoes

477. high miss (hai misu) – spinster (outdated expression)

478. high sense (hai sensu) – good taste

479. high teen (hai tiin) – late teens

480. high tension (hai tenshon) – excitable/ overexcited/ carried away

481. high vision (hai bijon) – HDTV

482. hip (hippu) – the most common euphemism for buttocks, and not meaning the bit round the side and its accompanying bones as in English

483. hire (haiya) – limousine with a driver (although often only the same size as a taxi, and even an actual taxi being used a different way)

484. hockey (hokkee) – note the long e for the last vowel sound

485. hole out (hooru auto) – something to do with golf

486. home drama (hoomu dorama) – soap opera (but probably not as long running as in most countries, and rarely on more than once a week)

487. home in (hoomu in) – reaching home base

488. homeless (hoomuresu) – homeless people

489. homewear (hoomuwea) – tracksuits etc for relaxing around the house

490. homo – homosexual (not disparaging, apparently)

491. honeycomb (haniikam) – note the last vowel sound

492. hooray (furee) – note the f sound

493. Hormon (horumon, from German) – tripe

494. hostess (hoosutesu) – only someone who works in a hostess bar, not someone who invites you to something

495. hot tea (hotto tii) – the opposite of iced tea, used even when the temperature is fairly obvious

496. hotcake (hotto keiki) – pancake

497. Hotchkiss (hotchikisu) – stapler (from a former brand name)

498. humorous (uumarosu) – note no h sound

499. humour (uumaa) – note no h sound

500. hun st (han suto) – short for hunger strike

501. hus (hazu, short for husband) – outdated slang

502. hussle (hassuru) – complete determination

503. hut (hyutte) – simple accommodation for mountain climbers

504. Hysterie (hisuteri, from the German for hysteria) – having a bad temper/ being quick-tempered, and with no former or present sexist connotations as far as I can tell

505. ice box (aisu bokkusu) – cool box, so not a fridge

506. ice candy (aisu kandee) – ice lolly/ ice pop/ Popsicle

507. ice coffee (aisu kohii) – iced coffee

508. ice fall (aisu fooru) – a frozen waterfall

509. ice skate (aisu sukeeto) – ice skate(s)/ ice skating

510. ice tea (aisu tii) – iced tea

511. idee – idea, from French

512. Ideologie (ideorogii, from German) – ideology. Note the hard g sound

513. idle cost (aidoru kosuto) – the cost of downtime

514. idling stop (aiduringu sutoppu) – leaving your engine on while parked, often seen on signs telling you not to do this common action

515. idol (aidoru) – a kind of pop singer

516. illustr (irasutro) – illustrated (map etc), usually used as a noun

517. image up (imejii appu) – improving your image

518. impo (inpo) – slang for impotent

519. Indian (indiyan) – still used to refer to American Indian/ Native American and exclusively so, as an Indian from India has the different expression “indojin”

520. indies (indiizu) – music not connected to major labels, and so not necessarily very alternative in genre

521. in fight (in faito) – get in close in boxing, the opposite of autobokushingu

522. infla (infure) – short for inflation, and almost always used in place of the longer word. Note the final e to distinguish it from “infra”

523. infra (infura) – infrastructure

524. initial (inisharu) – used for “your initials”, but not with the more general meaning of “first”

525. ink (inku) – only fountain pen ink

526. inside report (insaido repooto) – exposé

527. intelli (interi) – intellectual (noun referring to person)

528. interior (interia) – note the e sound

529. interphone (intaahon) – intercom

530. ion (ion) – note the short first vowel sound

531. iron (aian) – (golf) iron, and so different pronunciation to “airon” (iron for ironing)

532. iron (airon) – used to refer to the thing used for ironing and the action, not to the metal and with a different pronunciation to the golf club (aian)

533. Italia (itaria, from Italian) – Italy

534. Ivy college (aibii kareji) – Ivy League College

535. ivy look (aibii rukku, from Ivy League look) – preppy fashion


536. J pop (jei poppu) – Japanese pop music (this is now probably standard English among people who know it exists)

537. jacke (yakke from German for jacket) – anorak

538. jacque (chokki, from Dutch) – a kind of waistcoat with pockets, popular with fishermen

539. jar (jya) – one way of talking about an electric rice cooker

540. jeans (jiinzu) – denim (as well as jeans, although they are often known as “G-pan”, from “jeans pants”)

541. jet coaster (jetto koosta) – roller coaster

542. jinx (jinkusu) – can also be good luck

543. jockey (jokki) – a mug of beer

544. Jordan (yorudan) – note y sound

545. jump (janpu) – jump/ skip levels (e.g. in a language school)

546. jumper (janpaa) – zip up jacket (not sweater or knitted dress)

547. jumper skirt (janpaa sukaato) – knitted dress (jumper in American English)

548. just (jyasuto) – exact/ exactly, not “only”, with predictable confusions when telling the time in English

549. kanpa (short for Russian kampaniya) – fund raising campaign, e.g. collecting for charity in the street

550. Karte (kaata, from German) – medical records

551. katsu – short for cutlet, and now all the way back into the English language as part of the word “tonkatsu”

552. Kentu (kenta) – slang short form of KFC

553. Kentucky (kentakki) – KFC

554. key holder (kii horudaa) – key ring

555. key word (kii waado) – buzz phrase

556. keyboard (kii boodo) – used to refer to a computer, not a piano

557. kilo (kiiro) – short for both kilometre and kilogramme

558. kiosk (kiyosuku) – kiosk/ station shop (i.e. also something you can walk into)

559. klaxon (kurakushon) – (car) horn

560. knife (naifu) – only means dinner knife, not kitchen knife etc

561. knob (nobu) – any kind of door handle, not just a circular one

562. konbinat (konbinaato, from Russian) – industrial complex

563. kraan (karan – from Dutch) – tap


564. L size (eru saizu) – large (drinks, clothes, etc). Much more common than the longer English and Japanese words in those contexts, and also used conversationally.

565. lab (rabbu) – photos only, not science

566. lace (reesu) – same pronunciation as “race”

567. lady first (reidii faasuto) – ladies first

568. latex (ratekkusu) – note the first vowel sound

569. laurier (roorie, from French) – bay leaves

570. LDK (eru dii kei) – combined living room/ dining room/ kitchen

571. le guar (le gaasu, short for leg guards) – shin pads

572. lemon tea (remon tii) – tea with lemon

573. les (lezu) – short for lesbian, and apparently not insulting

574. lettuce (retasu) – notice the second vowel sound

575. level up (reburu appu) – improvement

576. life work (raifu waaku) – life’s work

577. lift (rifuto) – an elevator for things rather than people, like a service lift

578. lighter oil (raitaa oiru) – lighter fluid

579. lighter stone (raitaa sutoon) – (lighter) flint

580. limousine bus (rimojin basu) – airport shuttle bus

581. line (rain) – management

582. line dance (rain dansu) – cancan style dancing

583. line dancer (rain dansaa) – chorus line girl

584. lip (rippu) – lip salve (sometimes causing confusion with lipstick, which is “kuchibeni” in Japanese)

585. liquid (rikiddo) – note the k sound rather than kw

586. lithium (richiumu) – note the ch sound

587. litre (rittoru or rittaa) – note the alternative pronunciations

588. live house (raibu hausu) – a kind of live music venue

589. liver (lebaa) – only food, not the part of your or an animal’s body. Note the first vowel sound.

590. living (ribingu) – short for living room

591. living kitchen (ribingu kitchin) – open plan living room/ kitchen

592. LL (eru eru) – XL

593. LL (eru eru) – language laboratory

594. loca (roka) – short for (film) location

595. log house (rogu hausu) – log cabin

596. long seller (rongu seraa) – a book which sells for a long time, similar to bestseller

597. Los (rosu) – short for Los Angeles, as LA is rarely if ever used

598. loss time (rosu taimu) – added time, injury time

599. love call (rabu kooru) – screaming at a celebrity you love

600. love comedy (rabu komedi) – romantic comedy

601. love love (rabu rabu) – passionately in love/ affectionate in public

602. low teens (roo tiin) – early teens, i.e. someone under 15

603. Lumpen (from German lumpen proletariat) – homeless people

604. lynch (rinchi) – beating up, so more general than in English

605. M size (emu saizu) – medium (clothing size, drinks etc). More common than the longer Japanese and English expressions, including in conversation.

606. M (emu, from S and M) – masochist

607. Mac (makku) – common short form for MacDonald’s

608. macaroni (makaroni) – sometimes used for pasta more generally

609. macaroni western (makaroni uesutan) – spaghetti western

610. MacDo (makku do) – short form of MacDonald’s

611. Macedonia (makedonia) – note the k sound, as in many languages

612. machine (mishin) – sewing machine. Note the first vowel sound.

613. madam (madamu) – proprietress of a bar (rather than an owner of a brothel

614. madam killer (madamu kiraa) – a guy who is popular with older women

615. magic (majikku) – magic marker/ permanent marker

616. magic tape (majikku teipu) – Velcro

617. mail (meeru) – email and SMS, but not “snail mail”

618. mail ad (meeru ado, short for mail address) – email address

619. mail address (meeru adores) – email address

620. mail magazine (meeru magajin) – email newsletter

621. main bank (mein banku) – the bank that a company does most business with

622. make (meeku) – short for make up, and more common than the longer expression

623. Mama (san) – bar proprietress

624. man to man (man tsu man) – one to one/ face to face. This expression is common and not considered sexist

625. mania (mania) – a fanatic (of sports etc). Note that the first vowel sound is not the “ei” that it is in English, but rather a short “a”

626. manicure (manikua) – nail polish (a manicure is “nail care”)

627. mannequin (manekan) – model. Note the French pronunciation.

628. manner mode – mobile phone’s vibrate/ silent mode

629. manneri (short for mannerism) – stereotype

630. mansion – a slightly higher class of concrete apartment block, so not a large house. Often contrasted with “apart” (apaato), with the rarer “heights” and “co-op” somewhere in between.

631. margarine (maagarin) – note the hard g

632. marihuana (marifana) – note the f sound

633. marmot (marumotto, from Dutch) – guinea pig

634. maron (from French) – chestnut flavoured sweets etc (but not chestnuts themselves, which are “kuri”)

635. mash potato (masshu poteto) – mashed potatoes

636. maso (mazo) – masochist

637. mass comm (masu komi) – short for mass communications. Note the final i sound.

638. mass game (masu geimu) – group calisthenics, usually meaning for display rather than Japanese factory workers warming up for the day

639. mass pro (masu puro) – short for mass production

640. master (masuta) – manager of small coffee shop, bar or night club, so not an expert

641. master/ master course (masutaa koosu) – a Master’s (degree)

642. measure cup (mejaa kappu) – measuring cup

643. measure spoon (mejaa supuun) – measuring spoon

644. meat shop (miito shoppu) – a butcher’s (not a pickup bar!)

645. mecha (meka) – short for mechanical

646. medias (mejiasu, from Spanish) – knitted goods

647. meeting (miitingu) – business meeting/ (romantic) date

648. memo (memo) – a note, e.g. a Post-it on someone’s computer monitor, so not short for “memorandum” and so not a kind of group email

649. mens (mensu, short for menstruation) – a period

650. meringue (merange) – note pronunciation

651. merit (meritto) – advantages (as against “demerit”- disadvantages), used with a slightly wider meaning and more commonly than in English

652. mes (mesu, from Dutch) – scalpel

653. mesh curtain (messhu kaaten) – net curtains

654. messe (from German) – convention centre

655. micro (mikuro) – note first vowel sound

656. microbus (maikurobasu) – minibus

657. milk tea (miruku tii) – tea with milk/ white tea

658. milli (miri) – short for both millimetre and milligrams

659. mind (maindo) – intention

660. mini – short for miniskirt

661. mini comm (mini komi) – local or regional newspaper or magazine, the opposite of mass communications

662. mini pat (mini paato, short for mini patrol car) – small patrol car/ police car

663. minus (mainasu) – minus/ disadvantage

664. minus driver (mainusu doraiba) – usual screwdriver (in contrast to a “plus driver”, which is a Phillips screwdriver)

665. minus image (mainusu imeji) – a bad image

666. minus ion (mainasu ion) – (non-existent) negative ions, as seen advertised in loads of useless “health” products

667. mira (miira, from Portuguese) – (ancient) mummy

668. mispri (misupuri) – short for misprint

669. miss (misu, possibly short for “mistake”) – miss/ error/ mistake/ typo (and so used more in Japanese than English)

670. miss contest (misu contesto) – beauty pageant

671. missa (misa, from Latin) – (Catholic) mass

672. mix salad (mikkusu sarada) – mixed salad

673. mixer (mikisaa) – blender

674. mo bo (mooboo, short for modern boy) – male version of a flapper (mooga), so obviously specific to the 1930s

675. mo gir (mooga, short for modern girl) – a flapper

676. model change (moderu cheinji) – an updated model, e.g. the new Corolla

677. model gun (moderu gan) – toy gun/ cap gun

678. money buil (mane biru, from “building money”) – making money

679. monitor (monitaa) – consumer taking part of a marketing survey

680. monosex (monosekkusu) – unisex

681. monthly mansion (mansurii manshon) – serviced apartments (like the cross between a hotel and an apartment)

682. mood (muudo) – ambience/ atmosphere, e.g. in a club

683. mormot (morumotto, from Dutch) – Guinea pig

684. morning (mooningu) – morning coat

685. morning call (mooning kooru) – wake-up call, in a hotel or by your loved ones

686. morning service (moonin saabisu) – breakfast special, e.g. pastry and coffee cheaper than at lunchtime

687. mother com (mazaa con, short for mother complex) – Oedipus complex

688. mouton (muuton, from the French word for sheep) – sheepskin

689. muffler (mafuraa) – winter scarf

690. mug cup (magu kappu) – mug

691. multi talent (maruchi tarento) – a multi talented person

692. multi task (maruchi tasuku) – multi-tasking

693. multivitamin (maruchi bitamin) – multivitamins. Note the lack of an s

694. mushroom (mashuruumu) – champignon (not mushrooms generally, which is “kinoko”)

695. MW (emu daburu) – medium wave/ AM

696. my bag (mai baggu) – your own shopping bag, used to stop using plastic bags from supermarkets etc, so similar to “eco bag”

697. my boom (mai boomu) – what I’m really into at the moment

698. my car (mai kaa) – the family car, i.e. the opposite of a company car

699. my home (mai hoomu) – my own home, usually meaning buying rather than renting

700. my pace (mai peisu) – at my own pace, usually meaning being able to take your own time

701. naïve (naiibu) – a positive word meaning innocent or unaffected

702. name value (neimu balyu) – how much a well-known brand name is worth

703. napkin (napukin) – panty liner

704. native (neitibu) – native speaker

705. native checker (natibu chekkaa) – native speaking proofreader

706. native level (neitibu reburu) – native speaker level/ near native

707. NATO (nato) – note first vowel sound

708. neck (nekku) – bottleneck

709. neck tie (nekku tai) – tie

710. necktie pin (nekutai pin) – tie clip

711. needle penchi (niidoru penchi) – needle nosed pliers

712. nega – short for (photographic) negative

713. negligee (negurije) – nightdress (however plain)

714. nego (nego) – short for negotiation

715. neo (neo) – note first vowel sound

716. net (netto) – tennis and internet, not general meaning such as fishing

717. Neurose (noirooze, from German) – neurosis/ nervous breakdown

718. new half (nyuu harufu) – transsexual, or sometimes transvestite

719. news value (nyusu baryu) – newsworthy

720. NG (en jii- short for “no good”) – opposite of OK

721. night (naito) – nightclub

722. nighter (naitaa) – a night baseball game

723. nihilist (nihirisuto) – note first vowel sound

724. nine one one (nain wan wan) – 9/11, so not the emergency phone number

725. nipper (nippaa) – nippers (kind of wire cutters)

726. nish (nisu) – short for varnish

727. no bra (noo bura) – braless

728. no clutch (noo kuratchi) – automatic transmission

729. no count (noo kaunto) – something that doesn’t count, e.g. a goal which is disallowed

730. no cut (noo katto) – uncut/ uncensored (movie)

731. no make (no meiku) – not wearing make up

732. no pan (short for no pants/ no panties) – pantyless/ going commando

733. no sleeve (noo suriibu) – sleeveless

734. no touch (no tatchi) – non-contact (sport) or having no connection to something

735. non poli (non pori, short for non political) – apolitical, especially used about students in the 60s

736. non pro (non puro, short for non-professional) – amateur

737. non caffeine (non kafain) – caffeine free/ decaffeinated

738. nonsense (nansensu) – note first vowel sound

739. note (nooto) – notebook or laptop (computer)

740. note perso com (nooto pasokon, short for note personal computer) – laptop

741. number game/ number play (nambaa purei) – Sudoku

742. oasis (ooashisu) – note the short second vowel sound

743. OB (oo bii, short for old boy) – fellow alumni/ old school tie

744. objet (obuje) – short for objet d’art

745. off limit (ofu rimitto) – off limits

746. off reco (ofu reko) – short for off the record

747. off scene (ofu shin) – action and dialogue off the screen

748. office buil (ofisu biru) – office building, often shortened to ‘biru’, as this only refers to office buildings in Japanese (the Japanese word tatemono being more general)

749. office hour (ofisu awaa) – office hours

750. office love (ofisu rabu) – workplace romance

751. oil gauge (oiru geeji) – dipstick

752. oil shock (oiru shokku) – energy crisis, oil crisis

753. OL (oo eru, short for “office lady”) – a rather sexist female equivalent of “salaryman”

754. old fashion (orudo fasshon) – old fashioned

755. old miss (orudo misu) – old maid/ spinster

756. Olympic (orimpiku) – Olympics

757. om rice (omu raisu, from “omelette rice”) – a thin omelette surrounding rice with ketchup etc

758. on air (on ea) – on the air

759. on parade (on pareedo) – on display (e.g. in a shop window)

760. on the rock (on za rokku) – on the rocks

761. onani (onanii, short for onanism) – a standard way of saying masturbation, so not medical sounding like the full expression is in English

762. one man bus (wan man basu) – a bus that doesn’t need a conductor as the driver collects the fares as you enter (obviously not common in conversation now all buses are this way, but sometimes still written)

763. one man company (wan man campanii) – one in which an imperious boss makes all the decisions

764. one man president (wan man president) – a boss who makes all the decisions themselves

765. one pattern (wan pattan) – repetitive

766. one piece (wan piisu) – a dress (as against the two pieces of a skirt suit etc)

767. one room mansion (wan ruumu manshon) – studio apartment (manshon being an apartment building)

768. one side game (wan saido geemu) – one-sided game

769. open car (oopun kaa) – convertible/ cabriolet

770. open collar (oopun karaa) – open necked (shirt)

771. open sand (oopun sando) – short for open sandwich

772. open set (oopun setto) – outdoor set (for films)

773. open stage (oopun suteeji) – outdoor stage, so no connection to open mike events such as those at comedy clubs

774. order made (ooda meido) – custom made/ made to order

775. orgel (orugiooru, from Dutch) – wind up music box (obviously a minority interest and so not a common word)

776. ounce (onsu) – note the vowel sound, probably from a Romance language

777. out boxing (auto bokushingu) – keeping the other fighter at a distance and trying to pick them off

778. out corner (auto koonaa, from outside corner) – something to do with baseball

779. out course (auto koosu) – out of your lane (in sports)

780. out of bounds (auto obu baunzu) – only a sports meaning

781. outlook (autorukku) – outside appearance, so nothing to do with predicting the future

782. output (autoputto) – only computers, so not factories etc

783. outside kick (autosaido kikku) – kick with the outside of your foot

784. oven range (obun renji) – a combined microwave and oven

785. over (ooba) – overcoat

786. overall (obaaooru) – dungarees

787. overhaul (ooba hooru) – a medical check up, as well as the meaning of major car repairs etc


788. pack (pakku) – many kinds of packaging, including cartons. The same pronunciation as (ice hockey) puck

789. pageant (peejento) – note the long first vowel sound

790. pair look (pea ruku) – when a couple are wearing matching clothes (“couple look” in Korean)

791. pajama – pajamas

792. pan sto (pansuto, short for panty stockings) – panty hose/ tights

793. paneller (paneraa) – panel member

794. panic movie (panikku eiga) – disaster movie

795. pants (pantsu) – seems to have both the British and American meaning, although usually the former (= underpants)

796. pants look (pantsu ruku) – a woman wearing trousers, e.g. as part of a business suit

797. panty (panchi) – panties. According to my wife, a word only used by pervs. The rest of us just say “pants”

798. panty stocking (panchi sutokkingu) – tights/ panty hose

799. pao (pan, from Portuguese) – bread/ pastry

800. paper company (peipa kampanii) – dummy company/ shell company

801. paper driver (peipa doraiba) – someone who has a licence but never drives

802. parasite single (parashaito shinguru) – an adult child who continues to leech off their parents, e.g. not paying rent, long after they have their own job. Now leading to less used expressions like “parasite wife”

803. Pari colle (pari kore) – short for Paris collection

804. part (paato) – a casual job. Often wrongly translated as a part-time job. It often is so, but could easily be 40 hours a week and still be called paato

805. pass (pasu) – pass/ skip (school)

806. pat car (pato kaa, short for patrol car) – police car

807. pench (penchi, from French) – pinchers or pliers

808. penis (penisu) – note first vowel sound, more similar to spelling and Romance languages

809. penki (from Dutch) – paint

810. pension (penshon) – a Western-style minshuku, meaning basically a B&B, so similar to the meaning in many European languages (but different from Korean, where penshon means a self-catering hotel)

811. perma (paama, short for permanent) – perm

812. pers com (pasokon, short for personal computer) – PC

813. pessary (pessarii) – (birth control) diaphragm

814. pest (pesuto) – bubonic plague (from Portuguese, and similar to French etc)

815. PET bottle (petto botteru) – plastic bottle especially one with drinks in, e.g. those from vending machines. PET is the correct word for this kind of plastic in English, but very few ordinary people know and/ or use the word

816. petit (puchi, from French) – small. Notice the very different pron!

817. petit bour (puchi buru, from French) – short for petit bourgeois

818. petit tomato (puchi tomato, from French and English) – cherry tomato. Note typical Japanese way of saying “petit”

819. pick up (pikku appu) – pick up (in your car)/ select (so more similar to “pick” than “pick up”, and without the trends meaning of “rebound”)

820. Philippine (firipin) – The Philippines

821. picke (pike, with the e pronounced) – short for picket line

822. pierce (piasu) – earrings for pierced ears

823. Pierrot (piero, from French) – clown

824. pill (piru) – only the contraceptive pill, not pills more generally

825. piment (piman, from French or Portuguese) – a small green pepper

826. pincette (pinsetto, from French or Dutch) – tweezers

827. pinch (pinchi) – tight spot

828. pine juice (pain juusu) – short for pineapple juice (and the same short form of pineapple is used in some other contexts)

829. pink (pinku) – pornographic, like “blue” in English

830. pint (pinto, from Dutch) – focus (mainly used as part of the expression pinboke- out of focus)

831. pipe cut (paipu katto) – vasectomy (don’t ask your plumber for this!)

832. pit in (pitto in) – going into the pits

833. pitch (pitchi) – pace, not sports field

834. pitcher (pitcha) – a large glass that you drink from (rather than a jug you pour from)

835. pitcher mound (pitchaa maundo) – pitcher’s mound

836. pla hobby (pura hobii, short for plastic hobby) – making plastic models of planes etc, i.e. making Airfix models

837. pla mo (pura mo) – plastic models, like Airfix

838. pla rail (pura reeru) – a kind of model train

839. platina (purachina, from Spanish) – platinum

840. play guide (purei gaido) – ticket agency

841. plus alpha (purasu arufa) – plus something to be decided at a later date

842. plus driver (purasu doraiba) – Phillips screwdriver, from the shape of its end. The opposite is “minus driver”

843. pocket bell (poketto beru, from a brand name) – beeper/ pager

844. pocketable (poketaburu) – portable/ able to fit in your pocket

845. poemer (poemaa) – poet

846. poly (pori) – from polyethylene, a kind of plastic

847. pops (poppusu) – pop music

848. port wine (pooto wain) – note not the shorter form “port”

849. post (posto) – mailbox

850. pot (pottu) – a large flask that boils the water and then keeps it warm, used in place of a kettle in most Japanese homes

851. potato (poteito, from potato fry) – fries, so not the uncooked vegetable

852. pound (pondo) – the British currency. Note first vowel sound, which makes it possible to distinguish this and the weight.

853. premium (puremiumu) – additional charge. Note the short second vowel sound.

854. presen (purezen) – short for presentation

855. presentator (purezentatoo) – presenter (person doing a presentation), as presenter in Japanese only means TV presenter (possibly from another language, as it’s the same in French)

856. presenter (purozentaa) – only TV presenter, as a person doing a presentation is a presentator

857. press ham (puresu hamu) – pressed ham

858. prin clu (puri kura, short for print club) – photo booths that make decorated photos with sticky backs

859. print (purinto) – printed matter such as worksheets

860. private time (puraibeeto taimu) – free time

861. pro wres (puro resu, short for professional wrestling) – wrestling (the TV sort, not Olympic wrestling or sumo)

862. profile (purofil) – note the short last vowel sound

863. propose (puropoozu) – proposal of marriage

864. puck (pakku) – ice hockey puck, with the same pronunciation as pack

865. pump (pompu, from Dutch) – note the first vowel sound

866. punc (panku, from puncture) – flat tyre

867. punch (panchi) – hole punch, as well as a boxing punch and the drink

868. purin – short for pudding, and having the American meaning of being a kind of crème caramel, rather than the British meaning of a Xmas-pudding-style hot and heavy dessert

869. puzzle (pazuru) – jigsaw, not puzzles more generally (“jigsaw puzzle” is sometimes also used, but more rarely)

870. PV (pii bii, from promotion video) – music video


871. quilt (kiruto) – note the k rather than kw sound

872. rabbi (rabi) – note the short second vowel sound

873. race (reesu) – same pronunciation as “lace”

874. radio case (rajio kase) – short for radio cassette (player)

875. range (renji, short for oven range) – cooker

876. range food (renji fuudo) – microwave meals (as range means cooker/ oven)

877. ransel (randoseru, from Dutch) – Japanese-style leather school satchel, worn on the back

878. rare (rea) – only used to talk about how a steak is cooked

879. rear car (ria kaa) – small trailer, e.g. behind a bicycle

880. recall (rikoru) – remove someone from office

881. reception (resepushon) – formal dinner, not desk you see when you enter (that’s “uketsuke” for offices and “front” for hotels)

882. recruit suit (rekruuto suutsu) – very plain suit worn when you first start work as a graduate recruit, in order not to stand out at all

883. recycle shop (risaikuru shoppu) – second hand shop

884. reform (rifoomu) – alteration or repair, e.g. of building or clothes

885. regent style (riijento sutairu) – a quiff

886. regi (reji, short for register) – cash register/ the till

887. rehabili (rihabiri, short for rehabilitation) – occupational therapy etc

888. remo con (rimo kon) – short for remote control

889. repo (rupo) – short for reportage. Note the first vowel sound.

890. repo writer (rupo raitaa, from reportage writer) – a kind of journalist. Note the first vowel sound.

891. reportage (rupotaaju, from French) – note the first vowel sound

892. restaurant (restoran, from French) – note the silent t

893. retorte (retoruto, from French) – preserved food, especially boil in the bag curry etc

894. reverse (ribaasu) – puke (reversing a car is “back”)

895. rinse (rinsu) – some manufacturers are starting to switch to the word “conditioner”, which is what “rinse” is

896. road racer (roodo reesaa) – racer (bicycle)

897. road show (roodo shoo) – first run of movies

898. roas (roosu, short for roast) – pork loin and sirloin, usually a kind of ham and so not actually roasted.

899. robot – figurehead, as in figurehead president, as well as the normal meaning

900. rock ice (rokku aisu) – ice cube

901. roll screen (rooru sukuriin) – roller blinds

902. Roma (from Italian) – Rome

903. roman (from French) – yearning for adventure, apparently

904. romance grey (romansu gurei) – hair flecked with grey

905. rompers (rompasu) – romper suit (for babies)

906. Rontgen (rentogen, from German) – X ray

907. roof balcony (ruufu barukoni) – rooftop terrace

908. room cooler (ruumu kuuraa) – a longer and less common way of saying “cooler”, meaning an air conditioning unit that doesn’t heat (“air con” being one that also heats)

909. ropeway – cable car (in Japanese “cable car” is only used for one that runs on rails)

910. rosario (from Portuguese) – rosary (only a Catholic one, although Buddhist prayer beads look very similar)

911. Rossiya (roshiya, from Russian) – Russia

912. rotary (rotarii) – roundabout

913. rough (raffu) – casual, e.g. when talking about clothes (and therefore not as negative as the English expression)/ rough

914. royal milk tea (royaru miruku tii) – tea made with hot milk, like a café latte and a bit like Indian tea . Very sweet, and often iced.

915. rucksack (ryukkusakku) – rucksack/ knapsack (i.e. can be small)

916. rugger (ragaa) – rugby player (rather than a nickname for the sport)

917. running (ranningu) – sleeveless undershirt/ singlet

918. running home run (ranningu hoomu ran) – inside the park home run

919. rush (rasshu) – rush/ short for rush hour

920. RV (aaru bui, short for recreation vehicle) – SUV

921. ry man (rii man) – slang shortening of salaryman


922. S (esu, from S&M) – sadistic

923. S saizu (esu saizu, short for small) – clothing and drinks size

924. sabao (shabon, from the Portuguese for soap) – soap bubbles

925. sabotage (sabotaaju) – work-slow, a kind of industrial action

926. sack (sakku) – sack/ fingerstall (protective covering for finger, e.g. when counting money)

927. sad (sado, short for sadism) – sadistic

928. sadist (sadisto) – note the first vowel sound

929. safe (seifu) – only used in baseball, not more general meaning

930. saffron (safuran) – note last vowel sound

931. salada (from Portuguese) – salad

932. salaryman (sarariman) – office worker or salaried worker (it doesn’t have the exclusively Japanese meaning that it does in English)

933. sales point (seerusu pointo) – selling point/ USP

934. sample (sanpuru) – display models for dishes served in a restaurant, apparently

935. sand (sando) – sandwich. Usually used as part of a compound noun, e.g. chicken sand, with the full word being used on its own

936. sash (sasshi) – aluminium window frame

937. sauna (sauna) – note the diphthong first vowel sound

938. sayonara home run (sayonara hoomuran) – home run in the last innings that ends the game. The Japanese expression is now apparently occasionally used in English

939. scarf (sukaafu) – only used for a head scarf (a winter scarf is a “muffler”)

940. scenario (shinario) – a movie script

941. scenario writer (shinario raitaa) – screenwriter

942. schop (sukoppu, from Dutch) – shovel/ trowel

943. scout (sukauto) – only someone searching for suitable players for their team. Boy scouts always need the full name (boi sukauto) to refer to them.

944. scramble (sukuaramburu) – a crossing where pedestrians can cross from all sides of a crossroads at the same time, like the famous one outside Shibuya station

945. scramble egg (sukuramburu eggu) – scrambled eggs

946. scrap (sukurappu) – scrap/ (newspaper) clippings, so not always something you want to throw away

947. screwdriver (sukuryuudoraibaa) – only a cocktail (the tool is “driver”)

948. seal (shiiru) – sticky label/ sticker, usually not used to seal something

949. sealer (shiiraa) – sealant

950. season off (shiisun ofu) – off season

951. seat knock (shiito nokku) – baseball fielding practice

952. security police (sekyuriti porisu) – bodyguard

953. self aid (serufu eido) – DIY

954. semi double (semi daburu) – small double bed

955. sense (sensu) – good taste, particularly in clothes

956. senti (senchi) – short for sentimental. Same pronunciation as “centi” (the short form of centimeter)

957. service (saabisu) – free goods, e.g. coffee refills, dessert, sample

958. sex frie (seku fure, short for sex friend) – a fling/ a shag/ a lover (i.e. not quite a boyfriend or girlfriend)

959. sex hara (sekku hara) – short for sexual harassment

960. SF (esu efu) – short for science fiction. This form is apparently also used by English speaking sci-fi buffs, but in Japanese it is the only way of saying it

961. shade (sheido) – short for lampshade, with no more general meaning

962. shaker (sheekaa) – cocktail shaker

963. share (shea) – market share (rather than stock, and not meaning cut up a cake etc)

964. sharp pen (shaa pen, short for sharp pencil, from the brand name by the company Sharp, which later adopted the name of the product for the whole company) – mechanical pencil/ automatic pencil

965. sheet (shiito) – only on bed, not paper

966. sherbet (shaabetto) – sorbet, so always cold

967. shoot chance (shuuto chansu) – a chance to shoot

968. short cut (shooto katto) – a short hair cut/ crew cut (rather than a shorter route)

969. show window (shoo uindo) – shop window

970. Sicilia (shichiria, from Italian) – Sicily

971. side brake (saido bureeki) – hand brake/ parking brake

972. side business (saido bijinesu) – side job, not necessarily your own company

973. sign (sain) – autograph/ signature

974. sign pen (sain pen) – felt tip pen

975. silhouette (siroetto) – also used for outline more generally

976. silver age (shiruba eiji) – old age

977. silver seat (shiruba shiito) – seat for old and disabled people on a train

978. single (shinguru) – single breasted suit

979. sister (shisutaa) – nun (not a member of your family)

980. skate rink (sukeeto rinku) – skating rink

981. ski (suki) – ski(s)/ skiing

982. skim milk (sukimu miruku) – skimmed milk

983. skinship (sukinshippu) – physical contact

984. skyline (sukairain) – scenic mountain highway

985. SL (esu eru, short for steam locomotive) – steam train

986. slacks (surakkusu) – women’s trousers

987. slice ham (suraisu ham) – sliced ham

988. slide (suraido) – photo only, not playground

989. slip (surippu) – to skid

990. slump (suranpu) – only the metaphorical meaning of a bad period, not your shoulders

991. SM (esu emu) – S&M

992. small light (sumooru raito) – parking light/ side light

993. smart (sumaato) – slim

994. smoke salmon (sumooku saamon) – smoked salmon

995. snack (sunakku) – a kind of small bar, ironically usually with few food choices, or a snack

996. snap (sunappu) – popper (on clothes)

997. SNS (esu en esu) – social media

998. soapland (soopurando) – a kind of “massage parlour”

999. sofa (sofaa) – sofa/ armchair, so includes a small one for one person

1000. soft cream (sofuto kuriimu) – Mr Whippy style ice cream

1001. spats (supattsu) – leggings, e.g. ones you wear for aerobics

1002. spell (superu) – a noun meaning spelling (rather than magic spell)

1003. spuit (supoito – from Dutch) – (plastic) pipette/ dropper

1004. squall (sukooru) – note no w sound

1005. st (suto) – short for strike, meaning industrial action

1006. stainless (sutainresu) – stainless steel

1007. stamp (sutampu) – postmark/ date stamp/ etc (not a postage stamp)

1008. stand (sutando, short for stand lamp) – a small lamp

1009. stand bar (sutando baa) – small, informal bar where most people stand up or perch on stools

1010. stand play (sutando purei) – grandstanding

1011. Starbu (sutaba) – short for Starbucks

1012. start line (staato rain) – starting line

1013. starting block (sutaatingu burokku) – starting blocks

1014. starting member (sutaatingu membaa) – a founder

1015. steck (stekki, from Dutch) – walking stick

1016. step up (suteppu appu) – step up/ be promoted

1017. stock (sutokku, from German) – ski stick

1018. stove (sutoobu) – (gas, oil or electric) heater/ fire, so not connected to cooking

1019. straw (sutoroo) – drinking thing, not dried grass

1020. strip (sutorippu) – strip club

1021. style (sutairu) – someone’s figure

1022. sub mane (sabu mane, short for sub manager) – assistant manager

1023. suite room (suito rummu) – a hotel suite

1024. summertime (samaataimu) – summertime/ daylight saving time

1025. summit (samitto) – just a kind of conference for important people, so not top of a mountain

1026. sunglass (sangurasu) – sunglasses

1027. super (suupaa) – short for supermarket, and much more common than the longer word

1028. super cool biz (supaa kuuru bizu) – a more extreme version of “cool biz” that allows Hawaiian shirts etc in the office to save on energy consumption

1029. supporter (sapootaa) – knee support

1030. surf (saafu) – surfing (not used for the actual waves)

1031. swapper (swappaa) – wife swapper/ swinger

1032. sweet potato (suito poteito) – a kind of cake (the root vegetable is satsuma imo)

1033. Sweden (sueden) – note the short first vowel sound

1034. Swiss (suisu) – Swiss and Switzerland

1035. symbol mark (shinboru maaku) – logo

1036. system kitchen (shisutemu kitchin) – fitted kitchen


1037. T back (tii bakku) – G string/ thong (“T back” seems to exist in English, but is not common)

1038. table cover (teiburu kabaa) – tablecloth

1039. table manner (teburu manaa) – table manners

1040. table speech (teiburu supiichi) – after dinner speech (not a speech given standing on a table)

1041. Takt (takuto, from German) – baton/ supervisor/ tempo

1042. talent (tarento) – television personality/ celebrity

1043. talk show (tooku shoo) – panel discussion programme

1044. tank lorry (tanku rorii) – a tanker (the only time “lorry” is used in Japanese, all other kinds being “truck”)

1045. tek (teki, from French biftek) – a kind of steak, usually as part of “tonteki” (pork tek)

1046. televi (terebi) – short for television, like “TV” in English. The longer expression is very rare.

1047. televi game (terebi geemu) – a video game that you can play on your TV

1048. telop (terropu, from Television Opaque Projector) – text or graphics superimposed on TV image/ autocue

1049. ten key (ten kii) – numeric keypad

1050. tenant (tenant) – for rent (often seen on signs in windows, so rarely used in conversation)

1051. terrace (terasu) – terrace/ balcony, i.e. often smaller than a terrace would be in English

1052. terror (teroo) – terrorism, not the more general feeling of fear

1053. tester (tesutaa) – multimeter

1054. text (tekisuto) – short for textbook, with no more general meaning of written text etc

1055. Thai (tai) – Thai/ Thailand

1056. Thema (teema, from German) – theme. Note the “t” sound.

1057. Thema park (teema paaku, from the German for theme plus park) – theme park

1058. three size (surii saizu) – vital statistics/ a woman’s body measurements

1059. ticket (chiketto) – ticket for a play or museum, but not a train

1060. time service (taimu saabisu) – a limited time special offer, such as free refills at breakfast time

1061. time up (taimu appu) – time’s up

1062. timely hit (taimurii hitto) – RBI hit/ clutch hit (in baseball)

1063. title back (taitoru bakku) – film credits

1064. tobacco (tabako, from Portuguese) – tobacco/ cigarettes

1065. toggle button (toguru botan) – toggle (on clothes)

1066. toile (toire) – toilet (note the missing t sound)

1067. ton (ton) – tonne. Note the vowel sound

1068. tong (tongu) – tongs

1069. torch (toochi) – only a fiery one, not a flashlight

1070. toroochi (from Dutch) – lozenge

1071. touch (tacchi) – high five

1072. touch out (tacchi auto) – tag someone

1073. towelket (from “towel blanket”) – a kind of huge towel which you sleep under

1074. trai pan (tore pan, short for training pants) – tracksuit trousers

1075. trailer house (toreeraa hausu) – trailer/ mobile home

1076. trainer (toreinaa) – sports trainer/ sweatshirt

1077. trans (toransu) – short for transformer

1078. trap (tarappu, from Dutch) – ramp or steps to a plane or ship, so no connection to catching things

1079. Trauma (torauma, from German) – trauma. Note the diphthong second vowel sound

1080. travel watch (toraburu uotchi) – travel alarm clock (so not actually a watch)

1081. Trinidad Tobago (torinidado tobago) –Trinidad and Tobago

1082. trump (toranpu) – deck of playing cards/ card games in general (not just one game that you can play with them, so poker for example is also trumps in Japanese)

1083. trunk room (toranku ruumu) – storage room, e.g. a place where you pay to put things into storage

1084. tube (chuubu) – inner tube

1085. Tupper (tappa, short for Tupperware) – plastic box for storing food

1086. turbine (taabin) – note the short second vowel sound

1087. twin (tsuin) – only hotel room, not kids born at the same time (which is “futago”)

1088. two tone colour (tsuu ton karaa) – two tone

1090. u car (yuu kaa) – short for used car

1091. Ukraina (ukraina) – Ukraine. Note first and last vowel sounds

1092. un gr (angora, from the first syllables of “under” and “ground”) – underground (just the metaphorical meaning)

1093. un gr money (an gura manee, short for underground money) – black market money

1094. underskill (andaasukiru) – a lack of skills

1095. underthrow (andaasuroo) – underarm throw

1096. unit (yunitto) – unit/ prefabricated

1097. unit bath (yunitto basu) – modular bathroom/ prefabricated all-in-one bathroom

1098. up skirt (appu sukaato) – pervy photo

1099. upper middle (appa midoru) – upper middle class

1100. Uran (from German) – Uranium

1101. Urethan (uretan, from German) – urethane


1102. V (bui) – note the vowel sound, used to distinguish it from B (bii) because many Japanese can’t pronounce the consonants differently

1103. vacances (bakansu, from French) – holiday

1104. Vakzin (wakuchin, from German) – vaccine (note the very different pronunciation)

1105. Valentine Day (barentain dei) – Valentine’s day

1106. Vaseline (waserin, from German) – note the first sound

1107. veludo (biroodo, from Portuguese) – velvet

1108. veneer (beniya) – plywood

1109. veranda (beranda) – usually more like a balcony

1110. version up (baajon appu) – upgrade/ update/ new version (for software etc)

1111. very short (berii shooto) – almost cropped hair for women, something like Annie Lennox

1112. veteran (beteran) – veteran/ expert

1113. vib (baibu) – short for vibrator

1114. video (bideo) – note the e sound

1115. Viking (baikingu) – Viking/ buffet (presumably because Swedish people eat smorgasbord)

1116. vinyl (biniiru) – any kind of flexible plastic, as in biniiru bukurou (plastic bag), not just records and fake leather jackets and sofas as in English

1117. vinyl house (biniru hausu) – a greenhouse made from plastic sheeting

1118. vinyl tie (biniiru tai) – twist ties

1119. virgin road (baajin roodo) – aisle in a church (down which a bride walks)

1120. vis (bisu, from French) – screw

1121. vodka (uokka, direct from Russian) – note the first sound

1122. volley (baree) – volley/ short for volleyball


1123. waffle (wafuru) – note the first sound

1124. wagon (wagon) – cart/ wagon/ station wagon/ estate (car)

1125. waist (uesuto) – only measurement, not that part of the body

1126. warm biz (waamu bizu) – dressing warm in the office to cut down on heating bills, the opposite of “cool biz” in the summer

1127. washlet (uoshuretto, from wash + toilet) – combined toilet and bidet

1128. Watt (watto) – note the first vowel sound

1129. weekly mansion (uiikurii manshon) – serviced apartments

1130. Weiner coffee (uinaa kohii, from German) – Viennese coffee

1131. wet (uetto) – tender-hearted/ (over) sentimental

1132. whip (hoippu) – confectioner’s cream

1133. whip cream (hoippu kurimu) – whipped cream

1134. whisky bonbon (uisukii bon bon) – liquor chocolates

1135. white (howaito) – Tippex/ correction fluid

1136. wide (waido) – wide/ big/ long, and so used with a more general meaning in Japanese than in English

1137. wide lens (waido renzu) – wide angle lens

1138. wide show (waido shoo) – a kind of variety show, apparently so named because of its length

1139. wind orchestra (uindo ookesutora) – wind ensemble

1140. wine colour (wain karaa) – burgundy (colour)

1141. wiper (waipaa) – windscreen wipers

1142. wire cup (waiyaa kappu) – underwired (bra)

1143. woman lib (uuman ribu) – feminist

1144. wood (uudo) – golf only, not the material more generally

1145. wood bass (uudo beisu) – double bass

1146. wor pro (waa puro) – short for word processor

1147. wrap sand (rappu sando, short for wrap sandwich) – wrap, e.g. chicken and salad wrap

1148. wrecker (rekkaa) – tow truck

1149. XS size (eksu esu saizu) – short for extra small size, and used much more than the longer Japanese and English forms, including in conversation


1150. Y shirt (wai shatsu, from “white shirt”) – (business) shirt/ dress shirt (of any colour)

1151. yacht (yooto) – any size of sailing boat

1152. Yankee (yankii) – good-for-nothings,layabouts,hooligans,thugs (plus a fashion style and behaviour associated with such people)

1153. yard pound (yaado paundo) – Imperial measurements

1154. yeast (iisuto) – note the silent y, making it sound like “East”. Only used in some contexts, as there is also a Japanese expression.

1155. yell (eiru) – supportive cheers of spectators at sports game

1156. yellow (iero) – note the first sound

1157. yellow dog (iero doggu) – seeing eye dog

1158. Yellow Page (iero peiji) – Yellow Pages. Note the missing s

1159. yellow paper (iero peipaa) – tabloid/ gossip rag

1160. yoga (yoga) – note short o


1161. Z (zetto) – note the consonant sound

1162. Zemi (short for Zeminar, from German) – seminar, meaning the more interactive kind of university lecture

1163. zero (zero) – note the first vowel sound


This entry was posted in English as an International Language/ Lingua Franca, Janglish. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Complete A to Z of Janglish (Japanese English)

  1. Bekah says:

    Wow–great list! I first came across this concept (of Japanese English, an of World Englishes in general) while I was writing my thesis. I think it is important, as an language educator, to know the linguistic context in which your students will be speaking. It is a disservice to teach the traditional BrE or AmE definitions as the only ones for students who will be interacting primarily with other Japanese English speakers. I will pass this on to my English Teacher friends in Japan!

  2. Alex Case says:

    Why would a Japanese learner want to speak English to other Japanese people outside the classroom?? There is an ELF connection though, which I will post about some time this week.

    Here are some more, which I’ll add to the big list when I get time:

    ground hostess (guraundo hosutesu) – female airport staff

    lawn court (roon kooto) – grass court

    crotch (kuratchi) – note the first vowel sound, making the pronunciation exactly the same as clutch and crutch

    drier (dorayaa) – hair dryer/ those little bags of silica for keeping stuff dry

  3. Alex Case says:

    Yet more that I haven’t had a chance to add. Some of these may actually be in the list above, haven’t found time to check that either…

    1. BS (bii esu, from broadcast satellite) – satellite TV
    2. Chinese collar (chainiizu karaa) – Mao collar
    3. Christian name (kurisuchan neemu) – baptism name
    4. LL (eru eru) – long life milk
    5. Renaissance (runaisansu) – note the vowel sounds (typical of Japanese pronunciation of French)
    6. Sack (zakku, from German) – backpack
    7. These (teeze, from German) – thesis
    8. Zeitgeist (tsuaitogaisuto) – from German note first consonant sound
    9. abilympic (abirimpikku, from ability Olympic) – Paralympics
    10. bar code (baa koodo) – comb over (haircut)
    11. blow (buroo) – blow dry, so no connection to sex or drugs
    12. brea st (bure suto) – short for breaststroke
    13. bromide (buromaido) – photo of famous person
    14. bundle (bandoru) – only computer meeting
    15. change (chenji) – note the first vowel sound
    16. charging (chaajingu) – charging into someone/ banging into someone in sports
    17. checker (chekkaa) – short for checkered flag
    18. checker flag (chekkaa furaggu) – checkered flag
    19. cheek (chiiku) – cheek or blusher rouge
    20. cheer horn – plastic megaphone (without electronics) for cheering
    21. compo (konpo) – short for component
    22. crank up (kuranku appu) – wrap up shooting a film, so the opposite of crank in
    23. credit title (kurejitto taitoru) – the (movie) credits
    24. cryo (kurio) – note the short vowel sound
    25. day service (dee saabisu) – day care centre for old people
    26. deck (dekki) – short for cassette deck
    27. desk plan (desuku puran) – desktop planner
    28. doctor car (dokutaa kaa) – a kind of ambulance
    29. donor (donaa) – note the short first vowel sound
    30. doorboy (doaboi) – doorman
    31. drip (dorippu) – only means drip coffee, not leaks etc
    32. drop handle (doroppu handoru) – drop handlebars, as on a racing bike
    33. dump car – dump truck
    34. eisen (aizen, from German Steigeisen) – crampon
    35. fluke (furokku) – note the pronunciation, which is the same as flock and frock
    36. front (furonto) – hotel reception
    37. full band (furu bando) – big band
    38. full set (furu setto) – in tennis etc, going down to the final set
    39. grade up (gureedo appu) – upgrade
    40. green collar (guriin karaa) – computer programmer etc
    41. hair mode (hea moodo from hair plus the French for fashion) – a trendy hairstyle
    42. hair wig (hea uiggu) – wig
    43. heights (haitsu) – an apartment building that is midway in quality and price between a manshon and an apaato, usually with thin concrete walls
    44. high sense (hai sensu) – stylish good taste
    45. knob (nobu) – also means door handle more generally, so doesn’t rely on shape
    46. knowledge (narejji) – note vowel sounds
    47. lib (ribu) – short for women’s lib
    48. log house (rogu hausu) – log cabin
    49. loose (ruuzu) – note the z sound
    50. lymph (rimpa) – note the p sound
    51. methane (metan) – note the t sound (from German, I imagine)
    52. neon – note the first vowel sound
    53. net in (netto in) – a ball that hits the top of the net but goes in
    54. nice middle (naisu midoru) – attractive middle aged man
    55. nice midi (naisu midi) – attractive middle aged woman
    56. nicher nitchaa (from niche plus er) – a niche company
    57. night care (naito kea) – overnight care
    58. no game (noo geimu) – a baseball game which is called off before the end of the fifth innings and therefore doesn’t count
    59. non sect (non sekuto) – not related to any faction, e.g. in politics
    60. non section (non sekushon) – not divided into sections
    61. one pattern (wan pataan) – repetitive
    62. one side game (wan saido geimu) – one sided game
    63. ounce (onus) – note the pronunciation, probably from another language such as French
    64. perma hair (paama hea) – permed hair
    65. play guide (purei gaido) – ticket shop
    66. player (pureeyaa) – short for record player
    67. pre (pure or puri) – note the pronunciation
    68. pre-install (pure insutooru) – pre-installed. Note the pronunciation and lack of grammar
    69. prefab (purehabu) – note the pronunciation
    70. presentator – someone giving a presentation (as a presenter is only a television presenter)
    71. preview (purebyuu) – note the pronunciation
    72. prima (purima) – short for prima ballerina and prima donna
    73. principal (purinshiparu) – note different pronunciation to principle, which is purinshipuru
    74. principle (purinshipuru) – different pronunciation to principal, which is purinshipuru
    75. pro (puro) – short for production, propaganda, professional and programme
    76. process cheese (purosesu chiizu) – processed cheese
    77. propa (puropaa, short for propagandist) – a kind of marketer
    78. protein (purotein) – note the pronunciation, which is like the spelling, as in many other languages
    79. psyche (saike) – short for psychedelic
    80. romance grey (romansu gurei) – hair speckled with grey
    81. romancist (romanchisto) – romanticist
    82. sack (sakku) – condom
    83. side brake (saido bureeki) – handbrake
    84. side chair (saido chea) – chair with no arms
    85. side player (saido pureeyaa) – supporting actor
    86. side throw (saido suroo) – sidearm throw
    87. soliste (sorisuto, from French) –soloist
    88. sta jum (suta jan) – short for stadium jumper (a tracksuit top)
    89. sta mem (sutaa men) – short for starting member (meaning founding member)
    90. stadium (sutajiamu) – note the first vowel sound
    91. stadium jumper (sutajiamu janpaa) – tracksuit top
    92. stamp rally (sutampu rarii) –going from place to place, e.g. station to station, collecting stamps on a piece of paper
    93. stand bar (sutando baa) – a bar where everyone stands
    94. stand play (sutando puree) – grandstanding
    95. stardom (sutaadam) – note the final vowel sound
    96. start dash (sutaato dasshu) – fly out the blocks
    97. starting block (sutaatingu burokku) – starting blocks
    98. still (suchiiru) – a movie still. Note the long vowel sound, making the pronunciation the same as steal and steel
    99. stunts (sutantsu) – turns, twists etc in sports (what a stuntman does is sutanto)
    100. tail lamp (teeru rampu) – taillight
    101. teck (tekku) – place for practising driving
    102. tele clu (tere kura) – short for telephone club, part of the sex industry
    103. telegong (teregongu) – voting by telephone for television programmes
    104. teleport (terepooto) – satellite station, so nothing to do with teleportation
    105. tenant (tenant) – for rent
    106. testosterone (tesutosuteron) – note the short final vowel sound
    107. tex (tekkusu, short for texture) – pulp etc used to give texture to walls and ceilings
    108. text (tekisuto) – textbook
    109. tic (chikku) – short for cosmetics
    110. tinctuur (chinki, from Dutch) – tincture
    111. tonic (tonikku) – hair tonic
    112. top lady (toppu redii) – first lady
    113. transistor (toranjisutaa) – short for transistor radio
    114. trapen (tora pen, short for transparency) – OHP transparency
    115. trunk (toranku) – short for trunk room
    116. tutorial (chuutoriaru) – only computer meaning
    117. two shot (tsuu shotto) – a photo or film scene with just a couple in it
    118. variation (barieeshon) – note the first vowel sound
    119. watt (watto) – note the first vowel sound

  4. Jon says:

    I would add
    short pants – shorts.
    mountain climbing – hiking My grandmother goes mountain climbing.

  5. Stephen Reynolds says:

    calculator (karikureita) – thanks to my girlfriend, who after half a century in America speaks Janglish like a native

  6. hootowl222 says:

    To lose one’s way, to become lost: to rost. Example: “Here is, here is! Better take map so you don’t rost.”

  7. hootowl222 says:

    To get wet: “to wet.” Example: “Here is, here is! Better take umbrerra so you don’t wet.”

  8. hootowl222 says:

    To be born: “to born.” Example: “Happy I born in Japan. I grad I don’t born in North Korea.

    Also, to give birth; transitively, to give birth to: “to born.” Example: “My friend Sashiko sent retter. She born baby boy rast week.”

  9. alexcase says:

    Thanks hootowl, though I tend to classify them as “typical Japanese mistakes” rather than Janglish (though plenty of other people do use the words Janglish or Japlish that way)

  10. hootowl222 says:

    Next to: “Next of.” Example: “I park car next of house.”

  11. hootowl222 says:

    Beside: “Beside of.” Example: “I park car beside of house.”

  12. hootowl222 says:

    Behind: “Behind of.” Example: “I park car behind of house.”

  13. hootowl222 says:

    Alex, maybe we should have distinct terms for English words and phrases borrowed into Japanese but with meanings different from their normal significance in English, and non-fluent English as spoken by native speakers of Japanese. Should we use “Janglish” exclusively for the former and “Engrish” for the latter?

  14. hootowl222 says:

    A few of the Janglish words have the normal meaning in British English (Christian name, tail lamp).

  15. alexcase says:

    Isn’t it tail light rather than tail lamp in English? As the explanation says, “Christian name” in Japanese means baptism name (though I’ve never heard anyone use it and can’t remember where I got that from), whereas in English it simply means “first name”/ “given name”.

  16. alexcase says:

    There’s no easy solution to the terminology problem, and it’s not just Japanese. Spanglish also has the same three meanings as Janglish – “made in Spanish speaking countries English”, typical mistakes by Spanish speaking learners of English, and a kind of pidgin form of English (or in the case of Spanish more of a Spanish-English hybrid) spoken by immigrants. I don’t like the term “Engrish” though, which in fact seems to be used mainly to mean “amusing mistakes by Japanese speakers”, or if you look on the Engrish site it has spread beyond that to mainly Chinese mistakes. As with overemphasizing problems with r and l, unfortunately I think it has become tinged with a bit of racism.

  17. hootowl222 says:

    I suppose you are right, and there is no easy solution. The things I have posted are what I hear from Japan-born residents of the US; I think that, in addition to being amusing (as I assume the way Americans speak Japanese must be to the Japanese) they tell us something about the way the Japanese language functions; we may perceive only mistakes in English, but if there are discernible patterns to the mistakes it is likely to be a result of combining English vocabulary with Japanese (or other language) grammar, the same process at work in constructing pidgins and creoles.

    Even Wikipedia thinks that “headlamp” is the proper term for the equipment, and “headlight” strictly means the beam of light thrown by the headlamp, but in my experience this is another of the distinctions maintained in British usage but blurred in American. See for example

    “Christian name” in its original pre-Reformation context was precisely the name given in baptism, which was also, of course, the first name. It came to be synonymous with “first name” as used by Americans by analogy, when first the Protestants allowed given names not belonging to any saint, and second non-Christians became numerous enough, so, curiously, Rajiv Chatterjee and Mordechai Silverstein came to have “Christian names.” In Japan there was no need to borrow a foreign term for the _mei_ (shita no namae), so the odd habit of attributing a “Christian name” to non-Christians did not arise. But a Brit would probably understand what was meant by kurisuchan neemu without trouble, while an American might find it puzzling.

  18. alexcase says:

    I’m British, and I had trouble even understanding what a baptism name to begin with, being a protestant country and all… “Christian name” is an exact synonym of “given name” to me, if a somewhat old fashioned and non-PC one

  19. Shaun Smith says:

    Skyline, (the car from Nissan) ‘Suka/ ‘Sukairain’
    It doesn’t mean city horizon, but a line to the sky ie. a mountain road.

  20. alexcase says:

    That’s in the list already, but hadn’t made the connection the car name, so thanks for that.

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