Etymology 1Edit

Onomatopoeia. The zu portion indicates something rubbing or sliding (compare verb 擦る suru, “to rub or slide”), and the bon portion indicates something bumping to a stop or softly popping into or out of place.

This term appears in print in 1860,[1] raising the possibility that the onomatopoeia sense arose from the borrowed noun ズボン (trousers) and the action of putting on a pair of trousers. The initial zu portion does not historically refer to rubbing or sliding, but instead more commonly carries negative connotations of abnormal or sloppy. Alternatively, this is a colloquial term, and it may have been a dialect term, and thus it might be older than its history in print.



ずぼん (rōmaji zubon)

  1. (onomatopoeia) imitative of the sound of something rubbing or sliding and then bumping into place or coming out of place
    • 1860, 七偏人 (Shichi Henjin, “Seven Eccentrics”), volume 4:[2]
       (まる)ずぼん (あな) ()いた古犢鼻褌 (ふるふんどし)を…
      maruku zubon to ana no aita furu fundoshi o…
      [taking] the old loincloth with a round hole just plop hanging open...
Usage notesEdit

Takes the particle (to), as in the quoted example above.

Etymology 2Edit

Alternative form of ズボン (zubon, trousers). See that entry for more detail.



ずぼん (katakana ズボン, rōmaji zubon)

  1. ズボン: trousers (UK), pants (AUS, Canada, US), strides (AUS)
    Generally refers specifically to mens' trousers.


  1. ^ 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. ^ 1857-1863, seven volumes published one a year, 妙竹林話 七偏人 (Myō Takebayashi-banashi: Shichi Henjin, “Strange Tales from the Bamboo Forest: Seven Eccentrics”) (in Japanese), by 梅亭 金鵞 (Baitei Kinga); re-published in 1983, Tōkyō: Kodansha, ISBN 978-4061317901
  3. 3.0 3.1 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, ISBN 4-385-13905-9
  4. 4.0 4.1 1998, NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 (NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: NHK, ISBN 978-4-14-011112-3