What does “don-biki” mean in Japanese? donbiki! どんびき! ドン引き!



“Don-biki —!”

Have you heard this word?

This is slang, but recently some comedians, TV celebrities or characters in Japanese animation or movies often use it.

Let’s take a closer look at “Don-biki”.

What does “don – biki” mean in Japanese?

“Donbiki” is a word that describes the situation where the atmosphere has changed suddenly due to someone’s behavior.
It is also used somebody’s behavior that doesn’t read between the lines at all or odd and unusual behavior.

The person who makes a “Donbiki” situation often doesn’t realize that he/she is the cause. Don’t you know such a person?
Most people must have encountered such a person at least once.

Such a person makes the atmosphere awkward, or the pleasant atmosphere quickly a turnoff, or has an appalling fashion sense or the like.

What is the origin of “Don-biki”?

“Don-biki” should be described in two parts: “don” and “biki”.

The meaning of “biki” in “don-biki”

First, let’s look at “biki” which is the second half of this word.

The original form of “biki” is “hiku” which means “pull” in English.

Japanese broadcasting industry uses the word “hiku” when a camera zooms out (ズームアウト:zuumu auto) in filming movies and TV programs. When zooming out, the person being filmed becomes smaller and farther, and the surrounding scenery becomes larger, don’t they?

Japanese comedians started using this expression.
When someone says something terribly boring or when their gag is not funny, they say “hiku” or “hikuwa-” with the following implications:

“You should be zoomed out because that was boring (should not be shown on TV)”
“I want to get out of here ASAP by zooming out!”

However, in many cases, studio space is limited and of course, the camera won’t zoom out.
So, such a feeling is expressed by the words “hiku-” or “hikuwa-”.

Once comedians say something on a TV show, it’s only natural that viewers begin to copy it.

The meaning of “don” in “don-biki”

“Don” in “don-biki” is a prefix.

The original form of “don(どん)” is “do(ど)”, which is considered to be a dialect of the Kansai region.
”Do” is used in the Kansai region like “do-aho(ドアホ:idiot)” “do-kechi(どケチ:miserly)when they want to express that the degree of something has been exceeded.

“Do” not only means “large degree” but also “it exactly is” or is used with a meaning of something abusive.

For example,

「Do-dekai(どでかい)」 big
「Do-gitsui(どぎつい)」showy, heavy, loud, shocking
「Do-erai(どえらい)」great, enormous, tremendous
「Do-tsubo(どつぼ)」awful state, terrible situation
「Do-hamari(どハマり)」being stuck
「Do-shirouto(ど素人)」begginer, novice
「Do-pinku(どピンク)」very pink

“Ma” of “do-mannaka” means middle.
“Do-sutoraiku” comes from “baseball strikes”.
Even if taking the “do” away from those words they mean properly without any problem.

“Do” is used just to emphasize certain words.
But, it is wise not to use them at a formal place as some words with “do” sound slang.

And “don” is a sound that has changed so that “do” can be pronounced easily and smoothly.
It seemed to have changed gradually in the local conversation.


「Don-kusai(どんくさい)」slow, stupid
「Don-zoko(どんぞこ)」very bottom
「Don-zumari(どん詰まり)」clogged up

Based on what has explained so far, in the case of “Donbiki”, it should be pronounced “dobiki” and there is actually no problem to pronounce it like that, but “donbiki” sounds more rhythmic and natural.

Example of “don-biki”

昨日 の 会社 の 飲み会、支払い の とき に 上司 が 1円 まで 割り勘 で 請求 してきて ドン引き したわー。
Kinou no nomikai, shiharai no toki ni joushi ga 1en made seikyuu shitekite don-biki shitawa-.
When we paid at yesterday’s drinking party, my boss calculated everybody’s amount down to 1 yen.
He just spoiled the atmosphere there.

会社 の 女の子 に ジョーク を 言ったら ドン引き された。orz
Kaisha no onnanoko ni joku wo ittara don-biki sareta. orz
When I told a joke to a female worker in the office, she just gave me a bitter smile. orz

隣 の おじさん パンツ 一枚 で ガーデニング してる よー、もう ドン引き!
Tonari no ojisan pantsu ichimai de gaadeningu shiteru yo-. Mou don-biki!
The guy living next door is gardening with only his underpants! OMG, yuck!

あの 人、結婚式 に ジーンズ で 出席って ないよね?
しかもごお祝儀も 持ってきて ないの。ドン引きだわー!
Ano hito, kekkonshiki ni jiinzu de shusseki tte naiyo ne?
Shikamo goshuugi mo mottekite naino. Don-biki dawa-!
Oh, don’t tell me that guy wears his jeans to attend the wedding reception.
Moreover, he didn’t bring a gift money. Unbelievable…!

初めて 彼女 の 家 に 行ったんだけど、本棚 に BL 漫画 が 並んでて ドン引き した よ・・・。
Hajimete kanojo no ie ni ittandakedo, hondana ni biielu manga ga narandete don-biki shita yo…
I went to her house for the first time but found BL mangas lined up on her bookshelf.
I was kinda shocked. (BL = Boys Love)