Jump to content


Recommended Posts

Baka (Hiragana: ばか, Katakana: バカ) is a fairly common swear word in Japanese that means "idiot" or "fool". However, baka can also have many other meanings depending on the context.

1️⃣ The Origin of the Word "baka"

  • When written in Kanji, baka is often represented by the two characters "馬鹿", where "馬 - uma" (horse) means horse and "鹿 - shika" (deer) means deer.
  • There is a theory that the word baka (馬鹿) is derived from the phrase "指鹿為馬 - shiroku vi ma" (pointing to a deer and calling it a horse), which has its origins in a Chinese anecdote.

During the reign of Qin Er Shi, there was a chancellor named Zhao Gao who wanted to seize power but was afraid that the courtiers would not obey him, so he devised a plan to test their loyalty. Zhao Gao presented the emperor with a deer and declared that it was a horse.

  • Er Shi said that it was a deer, but many courtiers in the court followed Zhao Gao and said it was a horse, only a few dared to tell the truth. Later, those who spoke the truth were targeted for revenge by Zhao Gao. The idiom "pointing to a deer and calling it a horse" therefore refers to the act of twisting the truth, telling lies or making mistakes, and not being able to distinguish between right and wrong.

2️⃣ Other Meanings of Baka (ばか) in Japanese

  • Baka: stupid (the nuance changes depending on the region) In Tokyo, baka is "idiot, fool" with a lighthearted, affectionate nuance. In Kanto in general, baka is often used to tease or mock someone in a lighthearted way. However, baka has a rather negative meaning in the Kansai region and is usually only used when swearing or insulting someone.
  • Baka: fanatic - many people are proud to be a "baka" Baka when combined with certain nouns can be used to refer to people who are fanatic, passionate or obsessed with something. Therefore, there are some Japanese people who proudly call themselves "baka", implying that they are a fan of something.

Examples: ・野球バカ (yakyu baka): baseball fanatic. ・戦闘ばか (sentou Baka): hot-headed, likes to fight.

  • Baka: very, too much, a lot Baka is also used to express the meaning of "excessively unreasonable, incredibly stupid".

Examples: ・馬鹿デカイ(bakadekai): huge, incredibly large, unbelievably large ・馬鹿高い (baka dakai): super expensive, extremely expensive

3️⃣ Common baka phrases in Japanese

・馬鹿野郎 (baka yarou): idiot, fool.

・超馬鹿 (chou baka): the word "超" (super), so "chou baka" can be translated as super stupid, incredibly stupid.

・大馬鹿 (oobaka): big fool, big idiot, extremely stupid

・大馬鹿野郎 (oobaka yarou): big idiot, big fool

・馬鹿馬鹿しい  (bakabakashii): something "meaningless"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Study With Us on Discord for FREE!

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...