=Koko no ranchi oishikatta?
= “How was the lunch at this place?”
= “Not really…”
Today’s word is 微妙 ( = bimyou)
Let’s see the 漢字 ( = Kanji) first.
微 ：bi, mi/kasuka, wazuka a bit, slightly,
妙 : myou/tae strange
If you look it up in a dictionary, it means subtle, fine, sensitive, delicate, complicated or tender
Here are some examples:
= Ryoukoku no aida no bimyou na mondai
= a matter of great delicacy between two countries
= bimyou na chigai
= subtle difference
= Karera wa bimyou na kankei da.
= They have a delicate relationship.
So these are some standard uses of the word.
But younger people have started to use it when they want to make their statements less offensive or direct.
「〜についてどう思う？」( =~ ni tsuite dou omou?)
「微妙」( = Bimyou) Sometimes we write in Katakana. ビミョー！( = Bimyou) for a slang.
Meaning, “Not so good”, “Not really”, “It is hard to say but negative.”
It is a very fuzzy way to say “No!”
Look at the picture above. Maggie doesn’t like the lunch. (You can tell by her expression!)
So when someone asks her if she liked the lunch, she says 「ビミョ〜(or 微妙)…」( = bimyou).
She didn’t like the lunch. It could be really bad or somewhere between 「まずい」( = mazui) “bad taste” and 「普通」( = futsuu) “normal”.
You can also describe the taste as 微妙な味 ( = Bimyou na aji), indescribable taste
Let’s look at some more examples,
Your girlfriend asks you how you like her new dress and it looks awful! You don’t want to offend her so instead of telling her the truth you can say,
= Kore, atarashii fuku nanda kedo dou omou?
= “How do you like my new dress?”
= “It’s OK but…(there is something wrong…)”
It implies you don’t like it so much — but you never actually say anything negative.
Of course, she won’t be happy with your answer, but it’s better than having said it clearly. Remember this next time your girlfriend asks you if she looks fat in something.
When someone asks you if you are free tomorrow and you don’t want to go or you may be busy,
= Ashita aiteru?
= “Are you free tomorrow?”
you can say:
= Chotto bimyou desu.
= “Not sure..(Yes and No.) “
It is a very convenient word when you don’t want to give them a direct answer.
If you say:
= “I can’t go!”
= Ikitaku arimasen.
= ”I don’t want to go!”
You might hurt your friend’s feeling or cause some problems.
But if you say, 「微妙…」( = bimyou) , you can avoid the awkwardness.
Also, when you are not sure of certain thing you can use 微妙 ( = bimyou)
For example, a customer asks you:
= Ashita made ni sono shigoto dekiagari masu ka?
= “Can you finish the work by tomorrow?”
= Uun, chotto bimyou desu nee.
= “Well, it is hard to say…”
It implies it is difficult to finish it by tomorrow, but you don’t want to tell your customer you can’t make it or it is difficult to do so.
このレッスン、役に立った？ = Kono ressun yaku ni tatta? “Was this lesson useful?”
誰？「ビミョ〜！」って言ったのは！！=Dare? “Bimyo~”tte itta nowa!! “Who dares say “Bimyooo!”!!!”
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