What does shoboi mean? しょぼい?ショボイ?




This is a slang term often used by Japanese youth and some adults.

Even though we often say this word, I don’t think we want to have someone to describe us as “shoboi”.
Because “shoboi” does not have a very positive meaning.

Anyway, let’s take a closer look at these words.

What does “shoboi” mean?

“Shoboy” can be used to describe people, things, places, and conditions.
It has the following meanings:

・Low quality

How do you use “Shoboi”?

“Shoboi” is used as follows.
(I picked up as short sentences as possible.)

・Omae no jitensha, shoboi!
おまえ の 自転車、しょぼい!
Your bicycle looks shabby!

・Konna shoboi purezento wa kare ni agerarenai!
こんな しょぼい プレゼント は 彼 に あげられない!
I just can’t give him such a cheap gift!

・Kare no kakkou mita? Shoboi no nanotte!
彼 の 恰好 見た?しょぼい の なんのって!
Did you see his clothes? It was so outdated!

・Sonna shoboi kao suruna yo-.
そんな しょぼい 顔 するなよー。
Don’t look so disappointed.
Don’t show such a boring face.

・Kinou no paati no ryouri wa shobokatta.
Yesterday’s party cuisine was of poor quality.

Note: The past tense of “shoboi” becomes “shobo-katta”.

・Aitsu ore ni panchi shitekite sa-. Shoboi panchi datta.
あいつ 俺 に パンチ してきて さー。しょぼい パンチ だった。
He gave me a punching, but it was so weak.

・Nani kono sa-bisu, shobo!
What is this restaurant?! Shobo!

If the speaker is emotional, “shoboi” is often pronounced short “shobo!” as an exclamation.

What is the origin of “shoboi”?

“Shobi” is said to be derived from the word “shobo-shobo(しょぼしょぼ)” used from the Edo period to the present.

Originally there was the word “shobo(しょぼ)”, which was used to describe a state of “a little loneliness”.

And in the Edo period, the continuous light rain was described as “shobo-shobo”. The state was weak and dismal, and it is thought that it became to be used in the sense of lethargic, spiritless, disappointed, useless or gloomy.

In addition, there are words that are still used today to express a shabby, spiritless or disappointed state “shobo-kureru” or “shonbori”. “Shoboi” is an adjective with “i” attached to these words.

There is a similar slang called “heboi”.
“Heboi” means that someone is not good at something, and its meaning also includes that someone ’s appearance or behavior is weak, or that there is no momentum.

Examples of “shobo-shobo”

・Houchi sareta reizouko no yasai ga shoboshobo shiteiru.
放置 された 冷蔵庫 の 野菜 が ショボショボ している。
Abandoned vegetables in the refrigerator are all withered.

・Fuusen ga chidinde shobo-shobo ni natta.
風船 が 縮んで ショボショボ に なった。
The balloon shrank and became wrinkled.

・Tsukarete kita na. Me ga shobo-shobo shite ktia.
疲れて きた な。目 が しょぼしょぼ してきた。
I am getting tired. My visions are getting blurry.