- Dec 24, 2001
- Albuquerque, NM
Kuchisabishii is the Japanese word for "lonely mouth" and
Do you find yourself wandering over to the fridge while in quarantine ― even when you’re not all that hungry? Have you been leaning into your favorite comfort foods a little more than usual lately? Sounds like you have “lonely mouth.”
For those unfamiliar, “kuchisabishii” is a uniquely Japanese word that literally means “lonely mouth” or “longing to have or put something in one’s mouth.” “People use this word a lot to mean ‘eating when bored’ or sometimes, stress eating,” said Kevin Marx, a language instructor in Japan and the author of “Speak Japanese in 90 Days.” “For instance, my go-to snack is popcorn so lately I’ve been eating a lot of that,” Marx said. “I might say ′ コロナのせいで最近口寂しい。(korona no sei de saikin kuchisabishii), which means ‘because of COVID, I’m stress eating recently.’”
Given how expansive Japanese snack food game is ― Kit Kat bars in hundreds of flavors, Pringles offered in varieties like fried chicken and squid, the list goes on and on ― it’s no wonder a word like this gets tossed around so often.
We are back to the “can’t stop eating things that are terrible for me” part of quarantine.
How do you say it in English? Koo-chi-sa-bi-shē, according to Vanessa Villalobos, a Japanese instructor in England who runs the site JapaneseLondon.com.