5 Widely–Used English Words that Originated from Japanese!

  • We know that the Japanese have Romaji and tons of literal English translations in their language. Also, there are quite a lot of Japanese loan words in English such as Bento, Manga, Tsunami, Hentai, Ramen, Soba, Bonsai, Origami, Karate, Kamikaze and so on. But the list below would amaze you even more by how some Japanese words silently made their way into the Oxford dictionary.

    1. Tycoon

    We use this word in everyday business life. We refer to our bosses or someone powerful and popular in their fields as Tycoons. The word Tycoon comes from the Japanese word “Taikun” which means “great lord”. It was used extensively in late 19th century by foreign traders to refer to the shoguns in Japan. Even shogun is a Japanese word that refers to warlords during Meiji era.

    2. Skosh

    Skosh means “a little” which is derived from the Japanese word “Sukoshi” which means the same as that in English.

    3. Soy

    We all use Soy in our dishes wherever you are from in the world. Soy was first brought by the Chinese Buddhist monks to Japan. It was called “Jiang you” by the Chinese. The word “Shoyu” is the Japanese name for “Jiang you”. The United States and Brazil together produce more than half of the world`s Soy production currently. Due to its extensive use in the West, many think it has its origins in the West. Albeit its vast use, the Soy sauce you usually get in the American Supermarkets may not be authentic. Because, Soy sauce should be brewed like alcohol and blended, which the Japanese people traditionally do.

    4. Bokeh

    If you are into a bit of Photography, you must have heard of this term by now. It is used to refer to a kind of picture taken with blur to highlight a portion in it or to create an aesthetic sense of out-of-focus. It comes from the Japanese etymology “Boke” which means “blur”.

    5. Honcho

    Most of the people think it’s a Latin Hispanic word and is commonly used in the Americas. Honcho is a “leader” or an “in-charge” and the word is derived from the Japanese “Hancho” which means a “superior head of a team”.

    *Featured Image: jp.fotolia.com/