和製英語。

I read years ago that about 11% of spoken Japanese was borrowed English. Since then, I’ve learned that they don’t necessarily use all of those borrowed words correctly; many of them have been given (for lack of a better phrase) incorrect meanings in Japanese. This is called “wasei eigo.”

Some examples:

Bike Motorcycle. Bicycle is “jitensha.”
Common Sense Not the term for knowing the obvious, but the ability to understand those around you.
Depart Department store.
Front The front desk of a hotel.
Handle Inexplicably, the steering wheel of a vehicle.
Heartful This means moving, as in “a heartful story.”
High Touch The Japanese term for “high five.”
Hip To the Japanese, this means “butt.” The word for hip is “koshi.”
Ice Ice cream. Actual ice is “koori.”
Live Concert.
Local Somehow, this is the word they use to mean “rural.”
Make Makeup.
Mansion Not a luxury home, but a condominium.
Metabolic This is a synonym for “overweight.”
Office Worker An extremely generic term for anyone who works for a company, from the lowliest of data-entry clerks to the highest non-executive role.
Overtime To the Japanese, this simply means working late.
Pants Underwear.
Renewal This word is used in place of “renovation” here.
Roadshow Movie release date.
Service In Japan, this refers to anything done by a store or business for free. If someone at a small business throws a little something extra into your bag, they’re likely to say, “サービス、サービス.”
Sign Short for “signature.” I once heard someone ask, “Could you write your sign?”
Staff Roll This is what we in the West call the ending credits.
Tissue Paper Tissues.
W Not as much a word as shorthand, the letter W is used to mean “double,” as in “W チェーズバーガー” (double cheeseburger).

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3 thoughts on “和製英語。

  1. Pingback: A little attention. | One Man in Japan

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