“Baka” is a word that is used in nearly every anime and manga and now it has also become a viral trend on TikTok. So what does the Japanese word “baka” (馬鹿, バカ) really mean? I’m going to explain it to you in detail in this blog post, but first – as usual – here is its meaning and translation in a nutshell.
The Japanese word “baka” means “fool”, “idiot”, or “stupid”. It is usually regarded as a mean insult and translates into English as “You are an idiot” or “You are stupid”. However, in anime and manga, in the West, and nowadays even among Japanese friends, it is also used in a joking or teasing way.
Due to cultural differences, the meaning of the word “baka” (馬鹿, バカ) can be very different in Japanese and English. Read on if you want to find out whether “baka” is considered rude in Japanese and whether it is okay to use it in English or not. I have also covered what “baka” and “sussy baka” mean on TikTok.
The Real Meaning of “Baka” in Japanese
“Baka” is usually written in kanji as 馬鹿, in Katakana as バカ, or less often also in Hiragana as ばか. Its Japanese meanings range from a playful “silly” to an unfriendly “moron” all the way up to an offensive “idiot“. It all depends on the situation and how the word is said.
Here are all meanings and possible translations (source):
- idiot, fool, silly, moron
- stupid, foolish, ridiculous
- nonsense, absurdity, trivial matter, folly
- crazy (person), crazy fan
Most commonly the word “baka” (馬鹿, バカ) means “idiot“, “fool“, “silly“, “moron“, or “stupid“. Since it is common to omit parts like the topic and subject of a sentence in spoken Japanese the word can also be translated as “You are stupid!“, “You are silly!“, “You are a fool!” or “You are an idiot!“.
You are silly!
You are a fool!
You are stupid!
You are an idiot!
Depending on the situation, to whom it is said, and how it is said, “baka” (馬鹿, バカ) can be used to mock a friend or to insult someone. In the anime world, characters often use the word to vent their anger. Either when they got hurt by their crush or when they feel disappointed or let down.
Naruto, you idiot!
What an idiot!
Watashi wa baka…
I’m such an idiot…
When you add na (な) after the word baka (馬鹿, バカ) you can use the word as an adjective and use it to describe something or someone stupid. You can say things like “foolish person” or “stupid idea” or also “I did something stupid“.
baka na hito
baka na kangae
Baka na koto o shita.
I did something stupid.
Whenever someone is doing or saying something foolish, baka (バカ, 馬鹿) can also take the meaning of “nonsense” or “folly“.
Sonna baka na koto o shinjiru na!
Don’t believe that nonsene!
Baka na koto o iu na!
Don’t talk nonsense!
And sometimes baka (馬鹿, バカ) can also be used in a rather positive way and mean “crazy fan (of something)”, “huge fan“, “enthusiast“, or “crazy about …“.
Sakkaa baka da yo.
He’s crazy about soccer.
Watashi wa anime baka nan dakara!
Because I’m crazy about anime!
Does “Baka” Mean Cute?
“Baka” means “fool“, “idiot“, or “stupid” and isn’t considered cute or polite in Japanese. However, the word isn’t always used in an insulting way. Especially among close male friends, anime characters, and couples in Japanese drama or movies, it can also be seen used in a joking or teasing manner.
When someone acts foolish or does something stupid we might consider that to be cute. Also, in anime, it is not uncommon to see a cool anime character say the word “baka” to a girl with a loving smile while petting her head affectionately. You can interpret that as “My (cute) lil fool“.
My lil fool (said in an affectionate way)
Ore datte suki da baka…
I love you too, silly…
However, the word “baka” (馬鹿, バカ) does not mean “cute” in Japanese.
If you want to say “cute” or “You are cute” in Japanese, you use the word kawaii (可愛い, かわいい).
Is “Baka” Considered a Bad Word?
“Baka” (馬鹿, バカ) meaning “stupid” or “idiot” is considered a pretty offensive and rude word in Japanese. It is an insult and can also be considered a swear word, even though in English it doesn’t sound like a bad word. However, among friends, it is can also be used in a joking or teasing manner.
You are an idiot!
(used as an insult)
You are such a fool…
(used in a joking manner)
How “bad” or rude the word is really depends on the situation, your intention of saying it, and the way you are saying it.
“Baka” (馬鹿, バカ) is the most common Japanese swear word (source). So when your intention is to insult someone and you say it in an angry voice, it is a derogatory term and the other person will get offended, of course. That’s probably considered pretty “bad” in real life but it’s no problem in anime.
I mean in anime they use even more extreme swear words on a regular basis and the main character of “My Hero Academia” uses “Deku”, a word with a similar meaning, as his hero name.
Do I recommend using the word “baka” (馬鹿, バカ) in Japanese, though? Definitely not!
However, if you use the word in a joking manner while looking at your close friend with a smile, it turns into a rather harmless “You silly!” or “How foolish“. In that situation, the word is often stressed as “Baaaakaaaa“. Probably okay, even in real life as long as you know the person really well.
It also depends on the region by the way. In Kansai (Osaka), for example, “baka” is often considered ruder than “aho” (アホ), which also means “fool” or “idiot”. In Kanto (Tokyo), on the other hand, “baka” is considered more lighthearted than “aho”.
Is it Okay to Use “Baka” in English?
While the word “baka” (馬鹿, バカ) should never be used lightly in Japanese, due to cultural differences it can be okay to use “baka” with your friends in English. It is not okay to use the word with strangers or as an insult, but it can be used in a joking or teasing way with someone you know well.
Personally, I don’t think it is good or nice to label someone dear to you as “baka” aka “fool” or “stupid” even in a joking way. The word might not have the same impact since it is Japanese and when your friend or partner is into anime they will probably just laugh. But still, what you are actually doing is belittling them.
There are so many other common and useful Japanese words that you can start integrating into your daily English such as yabai (やばい) senpai (先輩), or one of the Japanese honorifics like, for example, chan (ちゃん). Even the slightly naughty ara ara (あらあら) might be a better choice.
But well, this is just my opinion.
What Does “Baka” Mean on TikTok?
Using “baka” has become a trend on Tik Tok, but the Japanese word meaning “fool” or “idiot” is actually regarded as an insult in Japan. Sometimes, especially in anime, it is also used in a joking way, though, so when someone calls you a “baka” online or on Tik Tok they probably want to tease you.
You are a fool!
You are an idiot!
(commonly used in a joking or teasing way on Tik Tok)
What Does “Sussy Baka” Mean (Internet Slang & Meme)?
“Sussy baka” means “suspicious fool“. The first word “sussy” comes from the English word “suspicious” and is a made-up term that originated from the video game “Among Us“. “Baka” is a real Japanese word (馬鹿, バカ) meaning “idiot” or “fool“. The meme and internet slang started as a trend on TikTok.