Table of Contents
General Meanings of Nori in Japanese
海苔 (nori) meaning “seaweed”
糊 (nori) meaning “glue”
4 Meanings of ノリ(Nori) as Japanese Slang
ノリ (nori) in katanaka is a casual Japanese word often used among young people and has multiple meanings, as follows:
Willingness to Say “I’m Up for it”
In this sense, ノリ is usually used as either “ノリが良(い)い” (nori ga ii) meaning “good nori” or “ノリが悪(わる)い” (nori ga warui) meaning “bad nori“. If someone has good nori, that means they are very active and open-minded, and often say “Yes, of course!” or “I’m up for it!” without hesitation when being invited to do something by their friends – even if it is something a bit daunting, such as hitchhiking. On the other hand, people with bad nori are very conservative and unsocial, and often hesitate to join an activity. For instance, if you invite someone to a party multiple times but he/she always says “Sorry I’m busy”, then you may think he/she has bad nori.
On a Whim/Without Thinking Much
When it is used as “ノリで (with nori)”, that means “(do something) on a whim or without thinking/worrying much”. For instance, if you say “彼(かれ)とノリで付(つ)き合(あ)った”, meaning “I’ve started dating him with nori (on a whim, without thinking much)“, that suggests that he is not your usual cup of tea but you’ve decided to take a shot anyway and see how it goes. Some people start their YouTube channel with nori (without worrying much about the outcome) and become successful unexpectedly. A group of cheeky kids often play a prank on someone with nori (without a second thought) and end up being scolded by their teachers; this type of nori (i.e. do something inappropriate impulsively/with the YOLO mentality, often as a result of groupthinking) is particularly called “悪(わる)ノリ”.
As you might guess, this meaning is closely related to the previous one, as people who have good nori often say “Yes!” to someone’s suggestion with nori.
ノリ can also describe “vibe” and “atmosphere”. For example, if you say “彼とはノリが合(あ)う (His nori matches me.)”, that means you like his vibe/personality and get along well with him (e.g. you two have a similar sense of humour). It is also used to describe the vibes of a group/organisation, as in “部活(ぶかつ)のノリが合(あ)わない” meaning “I don’t like the vibe of (the members of) the club at school”.
Upbeatness of Music
Last but not least, the phrase “ノリが良(い)い (good nori)” is also used to describe upbeat/groovy songs like club/dance music. You may relate this meaning to the fact that people who love clubbing usually have good nori and are very social and outgoing. There is also another term “ノリノリ (nori nori)”, which means “with a joyful or excited attitude”, like people moving to the beat on a dance floor.
A: This is quite sudden, but do you wanna go to karaoke with me from now?
B: Cool, I’ll come!
A: You have good nori (You’re so quick to say yes)!
Why you didn’t come to the drinking party yesterday? You have bad nori! (You should have been more social/open-minded)
I started investing in stock with nori (without thinking much) and ended up losing lots of money.
I want to go to a club and listen to songs with good nori (upbeat songs)
I can’t catch up with/get along well with my class’s nori (vibe/atmosphere).
It was completely bad nori that I skived off (skipped) school with my friends.
I sang excitedly/joyfully at karaoke.
海苔 (nori) “seaweed”
糊 (nori) “glue”
Synonym of ノリで
Antonym of ノリが良い
慎重 (しんちょう) な: careful
Related English words
ノリが良(い)い: outgoing, social, open-minded, groovy/upbeat
ノリが悪(わる)い: conservative, unsocial, worrywart