“About” Japanese English/「アバウト」和製英語


Japanese has something called wasei eigo literally “Japanese-made English”), which means words that seem to be English (eigo), but are not. These words came from English originally, but the meaning has been changed to a distinctly Japanese meaning.


I know, it’s confusing. So, here is an example.

About (abauto)

In English, the word about has a lot of meanings. When I first heard it in the wasei eigo context, the meaning that came to my mind was the meaning as in “about 400 people.” So around, approximately, etc. In the wasei eigo context, it means something different. If you look it up in the dictionary, the definition is “lackadaisical” or “sloppy.” Sloppy, lazy, etc., I think is the best way to describe this word. If someone does things sloppily, for example, they don’t put their best into their job, they are “abauto” (pronounced like about+o).




アバウト (about)

英語だと、アバウトって色々な意味がありますね。初めて聞いた時、絶対「約」って言う意味が頭に出て来ましたね。和製英語の意味だと、英語の ”sloppy” とか “lazy” という言葉があってますね。店員さんとかの場合だと、 they are not doing their job well とか言えますね。

Want more? Check out my other wasei eigo examples! 他の和製英語はここです!Recycle/リサイクル, Cunning/カンニング

What other wasei eigo have you heard? Did you misunderstand it when you first heard it? Let me know in the comments!


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