Clearly, ブーメラン (bu-meran) is a loanword from “boomerang” in English. However, not only describing the popular Australian souvenir, it also has another unique meaning in Japanese: it refers to a hypocritical criticism that is thrown at others but also applies to the person who makes the criticism. In other words, it describes a statement that makes you feel like saying ‘Look who’s talking!’. As you can guess, such a statement is called ‘boomerang’ because, after being thrown at others, it comes back to the criticiser like a boomerang.
Synonym: 棚に上げる (tana ni ageru):
Here is a list of examples of ‘ブーメラン’.
- An ugly person says to someone, ‘Who would want to date with such an ugly guy/girl’.
- An opposition political party criticises the ruling party, but they used to do the same mistake when it was in power.
- Someone who always comes late criticises others for being late.
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Usage and Grammar
Indeed, ブーメラン is used in various ways as follows.
- Usually, it is used as ‘ブーメランが直撃‘ meaning ‘a boomerang directly hits (someone)‘ or ‘ブーメランが突き刺さる’ meaning ‘a boomerang gets stuck (in someone)’ when someone has made a hypocritical statement.
- ブーメラン is also used as it is without forming a complete sentence, as in ‘またブーメラン‘ meaning ‘(someone’s statement is) boomerang again‘. This usage and meaning are somewhat similar to the ones of the English expression ‘the pot calling the kettle black’.
- It can also work as an adjective, such as ‘ブーメラン発言‘ meaning ‘boomerang remark’, that is ‘a hypocritical remark’.
- On social media like Twitter, ブーメラン is also used as a mean of self-deprecation humour. In this case, ブーメラン is bracketed and put at the end of a sentence.
An adjective such as ‘見事な’ (impressive), ‘盛大な’ (splendid), or ‘特大‘ (massive) is often put before ブーメラン as irony. See the example sentences below for how ブーメラン is actually used.
Ex1: (Case 1)
A massive boomerang has hit the opposition party again.
= A member of the opposition party has made a hypocritical statement (against the ruling party) again.
Ex2 (Case 2)
An impressive boomerang (hitting) the president.
= The president has made a hypocritical statement.
Ex3: (Case 3)
The party member is famous for his ブーメラン (hypocritical) remarks.
Ex4 (Case 4)
(A tweet on Twitter)
Twitter is used by such pathetic people who have nothing else to do. (boomerang).
Synonyms: お前がいうな (you can’t say that/look who’s talking)
Synonyms in English: hypocritic, the pot calling the kettle black, look who’s talking
Related words and phrases: boomerang, self-contradictory