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What Does the Japanese Word “Baka” Mean? + How to use it

What does Baka mean?

Baka is a Japanese word that means “ignorance,” “ignorant person,” “boring thing,” or “boring person”.

Baka has a variety of meanings and is a very useful word. It is originally a word to curse someone, but it can also be used in a friendly and affectionate way.

How to use the Japanese word of “baka”

For stupid things:

“My husband did something stupid again.”
“You idiot. Stand in the hallway.”
“That’s a stupid idea, it won’t work”

For useless things:

The screw is getting worn out. It won’t turn at all.
Use scissors like a fool.

Out of common sense:

As a fishing freak, I spend a lot of time and money on fishing.
This was a spur-of-the-moment idea, but it was received with an unusual degree of ridiculousness.
I couldn’t believe that she dropped her keys in the gutter. That’s my sister, she’s a fool.

The origin of the word baka

The word “baka” (馬鹿) has been used in Japanese for many centuries and has undergone significant changes in meaning and usage over time.

Originally, the word “baka” was written with the characters “馬鹿,” which literally mean “horse deer” and referred to a type of deer that was thought to be foolish and easily hunted. In ancient Japanese, the word “baka” was used to describe someone who was naive or inexperienced.

Over time, the meaning of the word “baka” changed and it began to be used as an insult to describe someone who was foolish or stupid. In modern Japanese, “baka” is a common insult that can be used in a variety of contexts, ranging from playful teasing to serious insults.

Despite its negative connotations, “baka” has also been used in more positive contexts in recent years, such as in the phrase “baka ni suru na,” which can be translated as “don’t be stupid” or “don’t be silly.” This usage is often meant to encourage someone to take a risk or try something new.

The legend of the horse deer

In ancient China there was an official called Zhao Gao. Zhao Gao, in an attempt to control the Qin government, devised a loyalty test for court officials using a deer and horse: One day, Zhao Gao told the emperor that he would present him with a horse. The emperor immediately went to see the horse, but was surprised when he saw the real thing, because it was not a horse, but a deer.

The emperor and Zhao Gao argued, “This is not a horse, but a deer.” Zhao Gao suggested, “Let’s ask the other officials if it is a horse or a deer.” The opinions were divided, some said it was a horse and others said it was a deer.

After this incident, the officials who said it was a deer were killed. Yes, this was a test conducted by Zhao Gao to determine who would follow him.

After this, the Qin Dynasty went into decline. As a result, people who twist facts to suit their own convenience are called fools.

馬鹿(Baka) and 阿呆(Aho)

The word 阿呆(Aho) is also used to describe a fool, just like 馬鹿 (Baka). There are two major differences between 馬鹿 (Baka) and 阿呆(Aho).

One is the region where it is used. While baka is used mainly in eastern Japan, aho is used more frequently in western Japan. The other is the difference in meaning. In Kansai, aho is casual while baka is very offensive, while in Kanto it’s the other way around.

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