音痴 (おんち, onchi) describes a person who is extremely bad at singing. When onchi people go to karaoke with their friends, they either try to blend into the background or sing onchi-friendly songs (e.g. songs of Japanese idol groups).
Onchi as a Suffix
Onchi is also used as a suffix that means “poor at something”. Here are four common phrases that include onchi as a suffix:
運動音痴 (Undou Onchi: “Exercise Onchi”): be poor at sports; uncoordinated
機械音痴 (Kikai Onchi: “Machine Onchi”): be poor at handling machines/technology
方向音痴 (Houkou Onchi: “Direction Onchi”): have a poor sense of direction
味音痴 (Aji Onchi: “Taste Onchi”): have a poor sense of taste
These phrases are often used when people say they are poor at something (e.g. “運動音痴だから足が遅い” meaning “Because I’m an exercise onchi (poor at sports/exercise), I run very slow.”)
音痴 consists of the two kanji characters “音” (on) and “痴” (chi). The former means “sound”, and the latter means “irrational”. Onchi is sometimes written in katakana as “オンチ”, especially when it is used as a suffix.
Because I’m bad at singing, I can only sing the songs of SMAP
(Note) SMAP had been one of the most popular male idol groups in Japan until it broke up in 2016. Some of their songs are very popular among 音痴 because they are very famous and easy to sing.
Because my mother is poor at using machine and technology, she cannot understand how to use a smartphone.
Because I have a bad sense of direction, I easily get lost even if I use Google Map.
Because I have a poor sense of taste, I don’t understand the differences of taste on beef and pork.
Synonyms: 下手 (be poor at)
Synonyms in English: tone-deaf, bad singer
Related words and phrases: 運動音痴, 機械音痴, 方向音痴, 味音痴
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