やばい

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Japanese[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Alternative spellings
ヤバい
ヤバイ

Originally a slang term used in the criminal underworld,[1][2][3] used to indicate that the police were getting close.[1] First cited to a text from 1892.[1]

Derived as a shift to an -i adjective of older -na adjective やば (yaba, illegal, dangerous, uneasy, not going well), itself a slang term of uncertain derivation that appears in sources from the late 1700s.[1][2][3]

Possibly related to the ayabu- stem in 危ぶむ (ayabumu, to fear something, to view something as dangerous), and the ayau- stem in 危うい (ayaui, dangerous, ancient reading ayapui).

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

やばい (yabai-i (adverbial やばく (yabaku))

  1. (colloquial) dangerous, risky
  2. (colloquial) risque, off-color, vulgar
  3. (colloquial) highly concerning (in a negative way)
    ちゃんとなきゃやべぇことなる
    chanto shinakya yabē koto ni naru zo
    if you don't do it like you should, shit's gonna be bad, man
    (literally, “if you don't do it properly, it will become bad things”)
    あいつやばいなぁ。
    Aitsu yabai nā.
    What's up with them? Yikes.
  4. (slang) very good, awesome, crazy, sick, wild
    あの()制服(せいふく)姿(すがた)ヤバすぎる
    ano ko no seifuku-sugata ga yabasugiru
    that girl looks way too amazing in sailor uniforms
    (literally, “the sailor uniform appearance of that girl is too awesome”)

Inflection[edit]

Interjection[edit]

やばい (yabai

  1. oh no, crap

Descendants[edit]

  • Chinese:
    Mandarin: 牙白

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN
  3. 3.0 3.1 1995, 大辞泉 (Daijisen) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan, →ISBN
  4. ^ 1997, 新明解国語辞典 (Shin Meikai Kokugo Jiten), Fifth Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN

Further reading[edit]