10 Japanese Verbs You Probably Didn’t Know :Today, we have 10 more Japanese verbs to add to your arsenal. The theme of the day is “actions seen in our daily lives.” Now, without further ado, let’s get started!
- 1 10 Japanese Verbs You Probably Didn’t Know
- 2 1. 這う (hau)
- 3 2. 覗く (nozoku)
- 4 3. 担ぐ (katsugu)
- 5 4. 囁く (sasayaku)
- 6 5. 擦れ違う (surechigau)
- 7 6. お辞儀する (ojigi suru)
- 8 7. 掻く (kaku)
- 9 8. 突っ込む (tsukkomu)
- 10 9. くっつける (kuttsukeru)
- 11 10. 躓く (tsumazuku)
- 12 Learn Japanese Verbs with BondLingo
- 13 Study in Japan?
- 14 Recommend
10 Japanese Verbs You Probably Didn’t Know
1. 這う (hau)
English: to crawl/creep
Look behind you! There’s a giant spider crawling on your back!
Haha, just kidding.
The word for how bugs, snakes, and other gross things move is hau, meaning to creep or crawl on the ground (or wherever it is they’ve ended up).
Ooki-na mushi ga anata no senaka wo hatte iru yo!
There’s a big bug crawling on your back!
2. 覗く (nozoku)
English: to peek/peep
Can’t wait to see what Santa got you for Christmas? We’ve all had that temptation to sneak out of our bedrooms at night to take a peek inside a few of those presents under the tree. Just a quick look isn’t so bad, right? Well, so long as Mom and Dad know!
Kurisumasu gifuto no naka ni nani ga aru ka, nozoita.
I peeked inside a Christmas gift to see what was inside.
3. 担ぐ (katsugu)
English: to carry (over your shoulder)
You might be familiar with the word 運ぶ (hakobu), which means “to carry” in a general sense. Katsugu, however, means to carry something over your shoulder. Think Santa and his big bag of presents!
Santa Kuroosu wa kurisumasu purezento ga haitte iru oobukuro wo kata ni katsugimashita.
Santa Claus carried his big bag of Christmas presents over his shoulder.
But, wait, there’s more where that came from! Katsugu is also used in the Japanese phrase for pulling someone’s leg!
Kare no hanashi wo shinjiru na, kimi wo katsuide iru dake da!
Don’t believe what he says, he’s just pulling your leg!
4. 囁く (sasayaku)
English: to whisper
If you’re using a loud voice to speak, it’s called 大きい声 (ookii koe)—which means literally “big voice.” If you’re speaking in a hushed voice, it’s called 小さい声 (chiisai koe). The actual verb for “whisper,” however, is sasayaku.
Okaasan wa nette iru kodomo no mimi ni “Merii Kurisumasu” wo sasayaita.
The mother whispered “Merry Christmas” into her sleeping child’s ear.
5. 擦れ違う (surechigau)
English: to pass by someone/something
If you’ve ever driven in Japan, you know that the streets are much narrower than they are in the USA. Not to mention, a lot of the streets in rural areas are lined with concrete ditches to drain the rain water. Therefore, it can be pretty nerve-wracking at first when cars go speeding past you on the road in the opposite direction. It feels like they could almost side-swipe you!
Nihon no michi wa semakute kuruma to kuruma ga surechigau no wa chotto kowai desu.
The streets in Japan are narrow, so cars passing by each other is a little scary.
6. お辞儀する (ojigi suru)
English: to bow
Nihon de wa dareka ni atta toki, ojigi wo suru no ga reigi to sareru.
It is proper etiquette to bow when meeting people in Japan.
7. 掻く (kaku)
English: to scratch
When written in its hiragana form, kaku could mean a variety of things, so it’s easy to get confused. You may know kaku as meaning “to write” or “to draw,” but it could also mean “to sweat” (汗をかく, ase wo kaku), “to shovel snow” (雪をかく, yuki wo kaku), or even “to cut off someone’s head” (寝首をかく, nekubi wo kaku)! And that’s just the beginning! However, in this instance, we’re using it to mean “to scratch.”
Kare wa ka ni sasarete ude wo kaita.
He was bitten by a mosquito and scratched his arm.
8. 突っ込む (tsukkomu)
English: to stick/shove/cram in
You may be familiar with 入れる (ireru), which means “to put in,” but as you know from English, “to stick in” has a slightly different meaning than to just “put in.” You can use tsukkomu in regard to cramming papers into a briefcase, books into a backpack, hands into pockets, or even sticking your nose into someone else’s business!
Kare wa poketto ni te wo tsukkonda.
He put his hands into his pockets.
Tanin no koto ni kubi wo tsukkomu na!
Don’t stick your nose (lit. “neck”) into someone else’s business!
9. くっつける (kuttsukeru)
English: to stick/attach/glue something together
This verb is used when things are being attached together such as two pieces of wood with glue, two bricks with cement, or even two pieces of paper with a paperclip. If you’re sticking something to something you use the verb kuttsukeru. It’s even used for hooking two single people up to be married!
Piero wa nori de zubon wo teeburu ni kuttsuketa.
The clown glued his pants to the table (with glue).
Watashi wa Mari-san to Hiroto-san wo kuttsukete fuufu ni shimashita!
I hooked Mari and Hiroto up, and they ended up getting married!
10. 躓く (tsumazuku)
English: to trip/stumble
Drat! I thought I told you kids to pick up your toys when you’re done playing! Someone could trip and break their neck!
Otousan wa omocha ni tsumazuite mou sukoshi de kubi wo otte shimau tokoro datta.
The father tripped on a toy and almost broke his neck.
Now that you’ve learned 10 new Japanese verbs that you probably didn’t know, it’s time to go out and use them! Try describing daily actions to your Japanese speaking partner by using today’s words, and watch their faces as you impress them with your vast vocabulary!