What Does Daijoubu Mean in Japanese?

This word can mean 'OK' or 'all right'

Hand making "okay" sign against a colorful sky.

Joe Lodge/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Daijoubu (大丈夫) means "OK" in Japanese. It can also mean "all right." In Japan, daijoubu is a common response to an order or instruction, such as a parent telling a child to clean his room or a boss explaining to an employee how to carry out a project.

Using Daijoubu

Daijoubu is often the word you would use to tell others you are "fine" in Japanese. Generally, it can mean both yes and no. Daijoubu is also used as a safe way to answer a question. However, many native speakers say that the word is overused in the Japanese language as a response in different situations.

Daijoubu and Daijoubu Desu

Daijoubu is sometimes paired with desu (です), which by itself means "is," or when written as -n desu (ん です), means "it is." In different situations, the addition of desu can cause daijoubu to mean different things, depending on the context, as the following examples show:

  1. Suppose that someone says to you: “I heard you had been suffering from a terrible cold for a week. Are you OK now?” As a response, you might answer "daijobu desu" (I'm fine).
  2. When a waiter asks, “Do you want some water?” people might respond with, "Daijobu desu," meaning “No thanks."
  3. If someone asks: "Are you hurt?" you might answer by saying, "daijoubu," which in this context means, "I am fine."

And if your host asks, "Is the water too hot?" an appropriate response might be, "daijoubu," which translates as "it's just fine."

Related Phrases

  • Daijoubu desu ka(大丈夫ですか) can be used in formal situations. It means "Are you OK?"
  • Daijoubu (which can also be spelled in Japanese as だいじょうぶ。) can mean, "I'm going to be all right."

So, if you're in no distress, content, happy, relaxed, and comfortable, and you're visiting Japan or talking with native Japanese speakers, know that daijoubu or daijoubu desu is nearly always an appropriate response.

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Abe, Namiko. "What Does Daijoubu Mean in Japanese?" ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/daijoubu-simple-japanese-phrases-2028353. Abe, Namiko. (2023, April 5). What Does Daijoubu Mean in Japanese? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/daijoubu-simple-japanese-phrases-2028353 Abe, Namiko. "What Does Daijoubu Mean in Japanese?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/daijoubu-simple-japanese-phrases-2028353 (accessed May 31, 2023).