Word of the Week: やだ

It’s time for Word of the Week again! Last time we looked at a Japanese word or phrase beginning with ‘mo’ (も), focussing on もったいない (mottainai), which means ‘wasteful’. This week I’m looking for a word or phrase beginning with ‘ya’ (や). A big thank you for the few suggestions I received this week:

Japan Australia suggested ‘yabai’ (やばい), an informal term for ‘Oh No!’, ‘I’m in trouble!’, or ‘dangerous’; ‘yada’ (やだ), slang meaning ‘no’ or ‘no way!’, or an expressing to show you don’t like something; and ‘yatta’ (やった), an informal term for ‘Yes, I/we did it’, ‘yay’ or ‘hooray’.

There were some great ideas, and in the end I decided to write about…



I quite like the word ‘yada’, and I had a ‘yada’ moment this morning, so I thought it would be a good choice for today. ‘Yada’ (やだ), which is actually ‘iyada’ (いやだ), is quite a petulant word and tends be used in situations where someone wants to throw their toys out of the pram. This morning I found I couldn’t open a jar of marmalade and I really wanted to have marmalade on toast for breakfast. To make matters worse, I was feeling all weak and feeble because I did my back in on Friday, so I didn’t even have the energy to try to open the jar. I felt like shouting “yada!” and throwing the jar across the room. I didn’t of course, but I did mumble a bit. In this case, I didn’t like the situation I was in, so ‘yada’ meant ‘I don’t like it’ or ‘I’ve had enough’.

‘Yada’ can be used in different ways to mean slightly different things, depending on the circumstances. Whilst usually pronounced ‘yada’, the original word which ‘yada’ comes from is ‘iya da’, which means ‘disgusting’ or ‘unpleasant’. It can also be used as a refusal to do something.

You can use ‘yada’ to refer to a person, meaning ‘I don’t like him/her’ or to food or objects, meaning ‘I don’t like it’. If someone offers you something to eat and you don’t want to because you don’t like it, you could shake your head and say ‘yada’ (if you were about 5 years old…).


(Image source)


‘Yada’ can also be used when you don’t believe something someone tells you, or when you don’t want something to be true. In this case, it means something closer to ‘no way!’.

So, although the actual word is ‘iyada’, it’s much more common to drop the ‘i’ and just say ‘yada’. Use this word sparingly though – you don’t want to sound like a brat!


Next week’s post will be about a word or phrase beginning with ‘yu’ (ゆ), so please leave your suggestions below. The word can be a verb, adjective or expression, but no nouns please! For example, ‘yukkuri’ (ゆっくり) meaning ‘slowly’ , would be acceptable, but ‘yuzu’ (ゆず), the citrus fruit, would not. I look forward to reading your ideas! (*^_^)v

Word of the Week 2014

5 thoughts on “Word of the Week: やだ

  1. Cool post man!

    Is iyada and iyanayastu the same root?

    For yu, all I could think of was names! I had a student whose name was Yudai – kinda unpleasant in English right??? And then I thought of Aoi Yuu, man ill watch anything with her in it, shes awesome!!

    There is also yu, as in sento, or hot water… like in sobayu, the water left after you cook soba used for tea



    • Hi, thanks for stopping by! I’m not familiar with ‘iyanayatsu’ – what does that mean? Thanks for the ‘yu’ suggestions, although in this game nouns don’t count I’m afraid. I appreciate your ideas though! 🙂


      • Fair enough – all games need rules.

        So, yatsu is like ‘that dude/guy’. its like in koitsu as in ‘this dude/guy’ and iyana is 嫌な ie ‘unpleasant feeling’ so ‘unpleasant dude’ but generally tranlated as jerk

        Theres a great scene in “the girl who jumped through time” (i think) where she gets so ratty with this dude and angrily mutters “iyanayatsu iyanayatsu iyanayatsu iyanayatsu iyanayatsu iyanayatsu iyanayatsu !”


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