Boketto: a surprising Japanese verb
As a native English speaker, I've always loved finding old or forgotten words in my language to explore. That's what inspired my Wordy Wednesday posts, and now my Lexicon posts, and I love that my vocabulary grows a little more each week. However, sometimes English just doesn't have the word I need. That's why I'm glad it isn't the only language out there. Other languages, like Japanese, have beautiful words with even more beautiful meanings. Like Boketto. Boketto (bo-ke-tto) is a Japanese word that loosely means "to gaze vacantly into the distance without thought." In their native tongue, it looks something like this:
It comes from, which translates as "to be daydreaming."
I think it's a perfectly romantic word that manages to convey the act of staring into space much better than "daydreaming." Daydreaming implies that we're imagining things, while Boketto accepts the fact that we sometimes need to think about nothing at all.
Since it is a Japanese word, it is rather difficult to use in an English sentence. Boketto is a verb, however, and some examples might include:
Timmy Jones, the best speller in the Mountainside Elementary School, stepped confidently up to the microphone. "Boketto. B.O.K.E.T.T.O. Boketto."
"Lars, what is a six letter word for "staring into the distance"?"
Lars looked up from his oatmeal as he thought about it. "Hmm. Try Boketto."
"That's it! Thank you, dear."
"Sorry, I was zoned out. What did you say?"
Jilian smiled at her absent-minded friend. "You know, the Japanese call that "Boketto." I learned about it in my world culture class last year."
"Yeah?" Lois grinned. "Do they have a word for "She who forgets her mind?"
Jillian laughed. "Probably, but I'm more worried about my stomach right now. Want to go eat?"
As someone who zones out on a regular basis, I was extremely glad to find such a unique word that perfectly describes what I feel when I just let everything fade away.
And, honestly, couldn't we all use a little Boketto in our lives?
To learn more, check out The Fae Poet's Hollow, Mental Floss, Word Nerd, The Jaded Network, and College Candy.
The photo is my own.