Interesting Loanwords / Wasei Thread


Cider means “alcohol made from apples” quite often. Not in Japan though.


they are all just evil cunning masterminds >: D


I made this list months ago mostly by looking at ads on the train and some from memory. By the way Cider here is apple juice, but they’ve recently released Hard Cidre (キリン ハードシードル) that is alcohol.

Please enjoy, these words are all perfectly acceptable in Japanese conversation.

edit: sorry very long…

スマイル - smile
アップ - close up
ルーズ - loose
ビギナー - beginner
レッサン - lesson
アスリート - athlete
グローバル - global
データ - data
サイエンス - science
コース - course
ゼミ/ セミナー - seminar
モデル - model
ゴールド - gold
レース - race
オーヴァル - oval
オリジナル - original
ブックカバー - book cover
フェア - fare / festival
クリニック - clinic
チャット - chat
ツール - tool
セキュリティ - security
チーム - team
スタンプ - sticker
フレーム - frame
テスト - test
ニュー - new
ストレス - stress
ドライバーアイコンタクト - driver eye contact
ラスト - last
オーダー - order
チェイス - chase
アソート - assortment
ワースト - worst
ランキング - ranking
グー - good
グッド - good
オライ - alright
システム - system
プロジェクト - project
プロフィール - profile
ビジネス - business
クレージ - crazy
ブラック - black
ログイン - login
パスワード - password
セール - sale
サラリーマン - salaryman
ハイグレード - high grade
コンタクトレンズ - contact lens
シティ - city
チケット - ticket
アプリ - application
メニュー - menu
プレミアム - premium
ビール - beer
インターネット - Internet
ホーム - platform
ドア - door
ステーション - station
リテール - retail
サービス - service
ゼロ - zero
エネルギー - energy
ハウス - house
ハウジング - housing
コミュニケーション - communication
コミュニティ - community
タウン - town
セイフ - safe
ライフ - life
スクール - school
メトロ - metro
ハンドル - handle
ロードショー - roadshow キャンペーン - campaign
コース - course
ホームページ - homepage
マナー - manners
スマホ - smartphone
ダウンロード - download
プロポーズ - propose
モード - mode
テーマ - theme
プラチナム - platinum
シリーズ - series
クライマックス - climax
コード - code
シード - seed
ビスケット - biscuit
ヘルスケア - health care
アド えージェンシー - ad agency
エクササイズ - exercise
サイズ - size
チャレンジ - challenge
トイレ - toilet
ナビ - navigation
ザ - the
デザイン - design
ヒップ - hip / bum
ポンプ - pump
コントローラー - controller
パイプ - pipe
オッフィス - office
ロビー - lobby
レストラン - restaurant
ストーリー - story
コーヒー - coffee
タール - tall
ショート - short
ホテル - hotel
ストップ - stop
ゴー - go
アップ - up
ダウン - down
ドラマ - drama
トラウマ - trauma
シャーツ - shirt
シェーア - share
コップ - cup
ティー - tea
パート - part time
タイム - time
ショップ - shop
バーガー - burger
トレーニング - training
フレッシュ - fresh
クレジットカード - credit card
キャシュ - cash
ナンバーワン - number one


Where is here, Japan? People were specifically talking about this. It’s like a citrus soft drink, not apple related at all. It’s okay, but I was disappointed when I bought it out of the vending machine.


What are your favorite ones?

In your list, I particularly like these ones:-
アップ - close up
グー - good
スマホ - smartphone (I know though, that Japanese people likes to shorten words and use abbreviations.)


Aside from some of the ones mentioned here, I like these ones:
マイカー - private car (my car)
バイキング - buffet (viking)


I think slim is just an extension from smart, and it does mean both (according to my dictionary). The time I saw that before it was definitely used to mean smart, probably not ‘slim’, but I’m not 100% on that.

NB. ‘Smart’ as in ‘smartly dressed’, not ‘intelligent’.


Yeah, the trap for English speakers is that it never means intelligent.


There are quite a few weird ones too, think the list can be found for Anki too if you just google Japanese slang. Warning, it’s mostly vulgar stuff.


Yeah, I’m a Brit. So cider to me is an alcoholic drink usually made from apples (although there are some weird and wonderful flavours now) and it usually guarantees me a hangover/several missing hours so I avoid it like the plague. Just about.


im a viking™ and I pig out at buffets makes absolute sense to me


I have a recollection of seeing it being used for ‘slim’ though. I remember a teacher telling me it’s used that way too :slight_smile: I’m… pretty sure I remember correctly. I hope.

Naturally it does mean ‘smart’ the way you described it.


Oh, yeah I didn’t mean it’s not used for slim, I just thought to mention that it isn’t such a peculiar meaning, considering that I have heard some Americans get confused, because I think the ‘smartly dressed’ meaning is much more used in Britain than in the states. :slight_smile:


Ah, pardon me :stuck_out_tongue:

I guess for me it was peculiar, but then again I’m not from an English speaking country :smiley:


I think イクラ comes from the Russian (икра) for caviar/roe

One that just recently threw me off was ユーモア for “humor”


I had トルコ on my final and that one took me a minute and I still don’t know if it’s right, but I’m pretty sure it means Turkey, like the country.


Yep. It’s the country.


Because I know (some???) German already, it was really easy for me to figure out the origin of バイト! (Part-time job).
The German verb “to work” is arbeiten and a job is arbeit. (Which for most English speakers is pronounced “ARE - BITE”… So BITE-O, is pretty freakin’ close.)
That’s the first non-English one that I found really easy to pick up - and maybe even the first one!


Tofugu has an interesting article on borrowed words -

Among other things, it discusses some of the places where a lot of words were pulled from like Germany, Portugal, France.

Someone may have mentioned it, but I’ve always liked パン for bread. It actually comes from the Portuguese word, but when I first learned it, I related it to “pain” the French word for bread since I was already familiar with that.


My favorite has always been マンション to refer to a SRO apartment within a complex, presumably because they’re thinking of the building as a whole as a “mansion.”

Also カルタ for card snatching games (from the portugese “carta”), while playing with playing cards normally (e.g.: poker/crazy 8s/black jack) is called トランプ.