Oh crap, it’s 【やばい】

I was thinking of writing a theme-based post with all sorts of useful expressions and examples but I’m too lazy so I decided to do another one like the last one and just talk about one word. This time, I’m going to introduce yet another slang that you’re going to hear all the time, especially among the younger crowds.

Let’s say you woke up at 8:00 in the morning. You look at the alarm clock and you realize that you are totally late for school. If you are a robot like those characters in Japanese textbooks, you might say something like 「どうしよう」 to mean “What shall I do?” (Lit: “How shall do?”). Now let’s say you’re a real human being, you’re late, and you’re in deep shit. In Japanese, you would very likely say, 「やばい!」.

A) 授業は、もう始まっちゃっているぜ。- Class has already started, man.
B) マジで?!やばい!- For real? Oh crap! (Lit: Dangerous!)

「やばい」 in the dictionary is defined as “dangerous” and that’s a good way to remember it as long as you keep in mind that it’s the “oh shit” variety and not the “watch your head” type of danger.

You can use 「やばい」 in all sorts of fun ways. For instance, if you want to warn your friends that that one girl is crazy and they should watch out, you might call her 「やばい」. Or you found out that you totally bombed a test. You can even use it in a positive sense such as calling something dangerous because it’s so delicious.

A) 試験はどうだった?- How was the test?
B) 全然ダメだった。- Totally no good.
A) それって、やばくない?- Isn’t that dangerous?
B) うん、やばい。- Yeah, I’m screwed.

A) そんなにうまいの?- Is it that tasty?
B) やばいよ。- It’s dangerous.
A) うそだ。- Yeah right. (Lit: It’s a lie)

Tune in next time when I’ll hopefully have more than just single vocabulary explanations!

11 thoughts on “Oh crap, it’s 【やばい】

  1. i came here looking for a different “oh crap” but this was interesting too.

    PS: the “oh crap” i whas looking for i think sounded like “YA-Be”. it was writen in hiragana やべ
    im still trying to track down wether or not it’s a common expression people use.
    maybe “kuso” is probably more commony used . but thats probaby because my exposer to Japanese culture is limited. *cough* anime *cough*

  2. やべー is a altered form of やばい. The word itself is the same. Change of い sound to え sound is common for very rough slang such as うるさい->うるせー

  3. Most of my friends use やべ in a positive way. Like when seeing a good looking girl, using it as the English equivalent of “She’s hot!”, or something like that. Also used when eating something really delicious and those types of situations.

  4. More than the yabai lesson, it’s this that caught my eye:


    Do you really know people who talk like this, adding ぜ to the end of their sentences? This is a perfect example of how to talk if you want to sound as if you’ve stepped straight from a comic book, as no educated person in the real world would speak this way. (Even London Boots made of this, man!)

    Again, I’m just a visitor to this site, but if you want an alternate opinion, lose the ze, the zo, the zoi and all such variants — they’re worthless in everyday conversation, and will make you sound more like Tony Danza than an educated speaker of Japanese.

    (Again, picking on the language, not the poster.)

  5. um, are you sure? because the sentence seemd to be more than obviously between friends (and i say like, like all the time with my friends, and these days i even say in real life ly~ek)

  6. First comment here, so I’ll start with the usual ‘this site rocks, keep the good stuff going’ motto.

    About the やばい thing, I agree with tantan : I hear it mostly as やべー in a positive sense. Typically, you enter a nice party with lots of good looking girls : 「わーっ!やベー!」

    I also +1 on jLo’s remark : you’ll get laughed at if you end your sentences with ぜ. I know because I did! You’ll sound like a small child or a manga otaku.

  7. I learned not to say this out loud in my japanese class……he got P.O…… haha keep it up man

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