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 ‎(romaji 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, romaji 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