Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Yet another example of word/phrase shortening, きもい is the abbreviated version of 気持ちわるい.  Definition:  gross, disgusting, creepy, makes me sick, ewww. . .

Although a good deal of my older and/or more socially conservative students and acquaintances would never use this word, viewing it as somewhat improper, I hear it spoken repeatedly by the teens and twenty-somethings of my world.  There's even an abbreviation of this abbreviation:  きもー!

 I should add that even with younger people, it can be a sensitive word.  A few years ago, I had a friend who was teaching a speech/presentations class.  One of his students had a habit of choosing one member (at random, so far as I know) of her audience and staring at that person during the entire speech.  It started to freak people out.  So the teacher tried to explain this with "It's kind of kimochi warui--"  As soon as those words came out of his mouth, the student hit the ceiling.  She complained to her parents and, since it was a private school where her family had some influence, it was a rough situation for the teacher.  He didn't mean anything offensive, but offense was taken.  I guess it isn't much different from English.  I can tell a friend that s/he makes me sick or creeps me out, but I'd be careful using the word around people I don't know very well. 

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