Word of the Week: ボサボサ (bosabosa)

Posted: 3rd March 2022

Welcome to the first Word of the Week on the Ippo Ippo Japanese blog! This is something I've previously shared on social media, but I thought I'd move it over here to make this series a little easier to follow and look back on in future.

This week's word is...

ボサボサ!

Bosa bosa!

As the date of my next haircut approaches, this word has become more relevant each day. "Bosa bosa" is exactly the word you need when your hair is messy, unkempt or maybe a bit bed head-ish. On top of it being just a very handy word, it's also a lot of fun to say: bosa bosa!

If you know a little Japanese, you'll have noticed that "bosa bosa" is written in katakana (ボサボサ). This is common - though not a hard rule - for Japanese onomatope (onomatopoeia). While English has onomatopoeia too (words like bang, beep, oink), Japanese onomatope is much more extensive, also describing things that don't actually make a sound - your hair being just one example - and there are lots of onomatope with repeated sounds, such as:

  • ワンワン (wan wan - woof woof)
  • ドキドキ (doki doki -the feeling of being nervous; the beating of your heart)
  • パンパン (pan pan - when something is full to bursting; bang/kapow/slap)

How to Use "Bosa Bosa"

Here are a few examples of "bosa bosa" used in a sentence:

1) 起きたばかりなので、髪がボサボサです (okita bakari nanode, kami ga bosa bosa desu)

I've just woken up so my hair is a mess

2) 強い風のせいで、髪がぼさぼさになった (tsuyoi kaze no sei de, kami ga bosa bosa ni natta)

My hair got messed up because of the strong wind

3) 髪をきちんと手入れしていないので、ぼさぼさだ (kami wo kichinto te-ire shiteinai no de, bosa bosa da)

I don't take care of my hair properly so it's messy

Source: 日本語NET

Looking for somewhere to practise your Japanese?

If you're short of chances to practise your Japanese - including how to use "bosa bosa" - why not join the Ippo Ippo Japanese Discord? Just drop Elly a message for a link to join.

Check back again for more words of the week coming up soon!

エリー・Elly

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