What does “hekomu” mean? in English?ヘコむ?凹む?



Kinou sigoto de misutta-, hekomu wa-.

Sonna ni hekomuna yo-.

“Hekomu(へこむ、ヘコむ、凹む)” has a meaning that has been used for a long time, but recently there are young people (and some adults) who use it to describe their mental state.

The meaning and origin of “hekomu” are explained below.

What does “hekomu” mean?

“Hekomu” is a verb that describes a state where something is depressed or dented.

Recently, young people use “hekomu” as slang. Unlike many other slang, it is used by some adults because it is easy to imagine its  meaning and use.

In this case, the meaning of the word is “depressed”, “disappointed”, “feeling bad”, and “energy is depleted”.

The word indicates that the delicate hearts of modern youth are being beaten and under pressure which causes deformation or crushes to their heart and that is painful.
Young people casually express such a mental state.

Origin of “hekomu”

Some humorous books remaining from the Edo period have descriptions of “hekomu”, which shows that people of that era used the word in the same way as young people today.
However, such meaning has not been used since then, and it is believed that it has spread over the last 10 to 20 years.

There seem to be some theories about why “hekomu” as a slang spread.
The first is that young people in the late 1990s came up with a good word to describe their state of feeling blue.
Another theory is that the comedian called Hitoshi Matsumoto, who is very popular since the late 1980s began using the word “hekomu”.
He commented on the radio program, saying, “Nobody used that word before, and I think it is a good word to express.”

Kanji of “hekomu” and the word of the opposite meaning

“Hekomu” is “凹む” when written in kanji.
This is like a symbol, so people outside of Japan who are not familiar with Kanji can easily understand it.

In Japan several decades ago, many thought of this character as a “symbol.” However, since it was added the “Kanji in common use”, it has been taught in schools as kanji now.

By the way, the opposite kanji for “凹” is ”凸”.
This kanji is also easy to understand like a symbol, right?
Both of them came from China long ago.

“凹” has “Kun-yomi (native Japanese reading)” such as “hekomu(へこむ、凹む), kubomu(くぼむ、窪む)”, but “凸” does not.

The idiom “凸凹” that combines them reads as “dekoboko(でこぼこ), outotsu(おうとつ)”.

A variant of “hekomu”

Since it is a “hekomu” verb, it has a verb variant.

Basic form

Negative form

Will / Solicitation

Polite expression

Past tense

Assumption / condition


Imperative form

Example sentences with “hekomu”

Kyou mensetsu nano ni densha ga tomatte te hekomu wa-.
I have a job interview today but the train service is interrupted which is so frustrating.

Sakki joushi ni zangyou tanomarete hekonderu.
I am a little unhappy because my boss told me to work overtime.

A: Sakki kimi no imouto ni attakedo nandaka hokondeta mitai.
A: I met your sister earlier, but she seemed feeling down.

B: Kareshi ni furarete hekonderu.
B: She has been sad as her boyfriend ditched her.

A: Anna ni naka yokatta noni? Sore wa hekomu yone.
A: They were in love so much, weren’t they? That makes her sad.

Shuusyoku no mensetsu zutto ukaranakute hekomu.
I am frustrated because I keep failing to pass job interviews.

Iya na koto ga attemo watashi wa zettai ni hekomanai!
No matter what obstacles appear, I will never give up!

Kettara kabe ga hekonda.
I kicked the wall and the wall was dented.

Itusumade hekondendayo, genki dase yo!
Stop worrying, cheer up!

Aitsu no sei de shiai ni maketanoni nande anna ni genki nano? Chotto wa hekome yo.
We lost the game because of him but he doesn’t seem to care. He should show feeling a little guilty.

Kyou, shigoto de misu shita. Hekomi chuu.
Today I made a mistake at work. In the middle of feeling down.