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17+ Funny Japanese Phrases to Know for Daily Conversations

You’ve might’ve read about beautiful Japanese phrases.

And you might already know about unique Japanese words.

But… what about funny Japanese phrases? Do they exist? Sure!

Phrases like “lonely mouth,” “people that yammer loudly about their opinions,” “to sweat oil,” and much more. So today, you’ll learn 17+ quirky and funny Japanese phrases. Good? Good.

Here are the phrases.

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1) お腹がペコペコ – I’m hungry

  • Pronunciation: Onaka ga peko peko

This is a funny Japanese phrase that indicates that you’re hungry. The phrase peko peko doesn’t really have a meaning and it is similar to a sound effect — an onomatopoeia. So, next time you’re at a restaurant and you can’t wait to eat, be sure to tell everyone that your “onaka” is “peko peko.”

By the way, this is probably one of the most common funny Japanese phrases here. You’ll hear this a lot in real life.

funny japanese words お腹がペコペコ - I’m hungry

2) 赤の他人 – Complete stranger (red stranger)

  • Pronunciation: Aka no tanin

“Aka no tanin” is a funny Japanese phrase because of its use of “aka,” meaning “red”. For some reason, a “red stranger” means a “complete stranger” in Japanese. This phrase is especially useful when you want to strongly express that the other person has no connection to you at all.

赤の他人 - Complete stranger funny japanese phrases (4)

3) 油を売る – Being lazy/taking your time (to sell oil)

  • Pronunciation: Abura o uru

This is a traditional phrase that is funny because the direct translation is “selling oil”. Back in the day, those who sold oil worked extremely short hours. This is why people started using it to mean someone who is slacking off and being lazy. Try out this phrase for fun next time your friend is being lazy and not doing what they are supposed to be doing.

油を売る - Being lazy/taking your time (to sell oil) funny japanese phrases (1)

4) うんともすんとも – No response (getting ghosted)

  • Pronunciation: Un tomo sun tomo

A funny-sounding phrase, “un tomo sun tomo” is used when you don’t hear anything back from someone you contacted. “Un” in Japanese means “yes” or “ok”. If you’ve been ghosted, this would be the perfect phrase to use.

うんともすんとも - No response (getting ghosted)

5) ちんぷんかんぷん – Makes no sense

  • Pronunciation: Chin pun kan pun

Another funny-sounding phrase, chin pun kan pun describes the sound you might have in your head when something doesn’t make sense to you. This could be used if you’re sitting in a particularly difficult math class.

ちんぷんかんぷん - Makes no sense

6) ろくでなし – Good for nothing/useless

  • Pronunciation: Roku de nashi

This is a phrase that’s used to describe someone who is “good for nothing” or “useless”. It can be a bit funny because the phrase sounds like “roku,” meaning “six”, combined with “nashi,” meaning “nothing”. You might hear people use this phrase towards those who aren’t taking responsibility, or doing anything meaningful in their life.

ろくでなし - Good for nothing/useless funny japanese phrases (4)

7) 口寂しい – Craving for something (lonely mouth)

  • Pronunciation: Kuchi sabishii

This is a funny expression in Japanese that literally translates to “lonely mouth.” When your mouth feels “lonely,” it means you want to snack on something even if you’re not hungry. It describes the feeling when you’re in front of the T.V. and want to munch on something.

口寂しい - Craving for something (lonely mouth)

8) モヤモヤする – Feeling confused

  • Pronunciation: Moya moya suru

“Moya moya” is a funny phrase that describes when your mind is cloudy. It can be used when you’re indecisive or can’t commit to something. Charm your Japanese friends by saying this phrase next time you’re unsure or confused.

モヤモヤする - Feeling confused

9) めんどくさい – Troublesome or annoying

  • Pronunciation: Mendo kusai

Japanese people say this phrase frequently when something is troublesome or can’t be bothered. It’s a funny phrase that doesn’t quite translate to English, and it is useful when you want to complain about something.

めんどくさい - Troublesome or annoying

10) 侃侃諤諤 – People expressing their opinions strongly & talking about it

  • Pronunciation: Kan kan gaku gaku

“Kan kan gaku gaku” is a funny phrase that describes how people who are debating with each other would sound like. If you say “Kan kan gaku gaku” out loud you’ll notice that the hard consonants, right? It sounds like a whole lot of noise, like people expressing their opinions loudly.

This is one of my favorite funny Japanese phrases.

侃侃諤諤 - People expressing their opinions strongly & talking about it

11) 変態百出 – Changing one’s looks constantly

  • Pronunciation: Hen tai hyaku shutsu

“Hentai hyaku shutsu” is a phrase that describes someone who looks different every time you see them. It can be used towards a woman who likes to change her fashion and makeup constantly. The rough translation of the phrase is “changing figure one hundred times”.

変態百出 - Changing one's looks constantly

12) 道がジグザグ – Road is zigzag

  • Pronunciation: Michi ga jigu zagu

This is a phrase that’s fun to say. It uses the word “zig zag” in English, pronounced in a Japanese style. Winding roads or roads that go back and forth can be described with this phrase.

道がジグザグ - Road is zigzag

13) のんびりする – To relax

  • Pronunciation: Nonbiri suru

“Nonbiri suru” is a phrase that describes how you stretch out your body when you relax. It’s the perfect phrase for when you’re stretched out on the beach or in your favorite hot springs.

のんびりする - To relax

14) 猫の手でも借りたい – Desperate for help (Could even use the help of a cat’s paw)

  • Pronunciation: Neko no te de mo karitai

This is a funny Japanese phrase that describes when you’re desperate for help. It means that when you really need help, even a cat’s paw could be useful. In reality, a cat’s paw can’t do much, so it’s a funny way to describe the situation.

猫の手でも借りたい - Desperate for help (Could even use the help of a cat's paw)

15) 猫ばば – Doing something bad and hiding it

  • Pronunciation: Neko baba

“Neko baba” is another phrase that involves a cat. This phrase refers to when someone does something bad and hides it. It comes from how cats throw dirt or sand on top of their poop. It’s usually used in a light-hearted way. For example, you can use it when your friend nonchalantly steals some snacks from you.

猫ばば - Doing something bad and hiding it

16) 頭が真っ白 – Head is blank

  • Pronunciation: Atama ga masshiro

When you suddenly forget what you are saying, you can use this Japanese phrase. It means that your head goes “white” or “blank”. In a literal translation, it would be “my head is white”.

funny japanese phrases 頭が真っ白 - Head is blank

17) 脂汗を描く – Strong and thick sweat (to sweat oil)

  • Pronunciation: Abura ase o kaku

Can you imagine someone sweating oil? Ew, right?

Well, this funny Japanese phrase uses a metaphor with oil to compare sweat. It describes the moment when you’re so nervous that you start to develop thick sweat. Thick. Greasy. Viscous. Dark yellow. Foul-smelling. Like… oil! So, if you’re someone who sweats with nervousness, this is the perfect phrase.

funny japanese phrases 脂汗を描く - Strong and thick sweat (to sweat oil)

Funny Japanese Phrases Conclusion

Now, you know some funny Japanese phrases.

If you want to remember these phrases, print out this page.

If you have a favorite Japanese phrase, leave a comment.

If you think there’s some other word that should be here, leave a comment.

If you want to know how to say some other phrase, leave a comment.

I read ’em all.

– The Main Lingua Junkie

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