Guide: How to Say Dust in Japanese

In this guide, we will explore the various ways to say “dust” in Japanese, both formally and informally. Additionally, we will provide tips, examples, and regional variations if necessary. Let’s dive in and learn the different ways to express this common word in the Japanese language.

Formal Ways to Say Dust in Japanese

When speaking in formal situations or addressing someone with respect, the following words can be used to refer to dust:

  1. Hokori (ほこり): This is the most commonly used word for “dust” in formal contexts. It represents fine particles or small specks that accumulate on surfaces. For instance, you could say, “室内はほこりがたくさんあります” (Munai wa hokori ga takusan arimasu), which means “There is a lot of dust inside the room.”
  2. Chiri (ちり): This word also means “dust” and is often used in a more literal sense. For example, you might say, “風が吹くと、ちりが舞います” (Kaze ga fuku to, chiri ga mau), meaning “When the wind blows, the dust dances.”

Informal Ways to Say Dust in Japanese

In casual conversations or when speaking with friends, you can use the following terms to express “dust”:

  1. Komi (こみ): This is a more casual way to refer to dust, commonly used among friends. For instance, you might say, “掃除しないと家中がこみだらけになるよ” (Souji shinai to ienaka ga komidarake ni naru yo), which translates to “If you don’t clean, the whole house will be covered in dust.”
  2. Chirizokon (ちりぞこん): Used in everyday language, this word is slightly less formal than the previous terms. It is often used to describe dust that has settled or accumulated over time. For example, you could say, “本棚の上にはちりぞこんだ本がたくさんある” (Hondana no ue ni wa chirizokonda moto ga takusan aru), meaning “There are many dusty books on the top of the bookshelf.”

Tips for Using Dust-related Vocabulary

To further enhance your understanding of dust-related vocabulary in Japanese, consider the following tips:

1. Context Matters

As with any language, the appropriate term for “dust” in Japanese depends on the context. Understanding whether you should use a formal or informal word is essential for effective communication.

2. Pay Attention to Politeness Levels

When addressing someone with respect or in a formal setting, it is crucial to use the appropriate vocabulary. Employing hokori or chiri in these situations will help maintain politeness and etiquette.

3. Use Dust-related Phrases

Expanding your vocabulary to include dust-related phrases can be helpful in daily conversations. For example:

灰色の粉は、ほこりと呼ばれます (Haiiro no ko wa, hokori to yobaremasu) – Gray powder is called dust.

住まいの隅々に綺麗を心がけて、ちりを撃退しましょう (Sumai no sumizumi ni kirei o kokorogakete, chiri o gekitai shimashou) – Let’s aim for cleanliness in every corner of our homes and keep the dust away.

Regional Variations

Japanese is predominantly a homogeneous language without significant regional variations in how “dust” is expressed. However, slight dialectal differences may exist. In the Kansai region, for instance, you may come across the word “puchi” (ぷち) being used colloquially. Nonetheless, hokori and chiri remain universally understood and widely used across Japan.


In conclusion, when referring to “dust” in Japanese, you can use various terms depending on the level of formality and the context of your conversation. It is important to pay attention to proper politeness levels and choose the right vocabulary accordingly. Whether you choose “hokori,” “chiri,” “komi,” or “chirizokon,” you can now confidently discuss dust-related topics and keep your environment clean. Happy learning!

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