音痴 (onchi) describes a person who sucks at singing. Some people hate karaoke because they believe that they are Onchi. When they end up going to karaoke with their friends, they either fade into the background or try to sing popular Onchi-friendly songs that they have googled in advance.
Onchi as a Suffix
Aside from the general usage, Onchi is also used as a suffix that means “poor at something”. Here are some 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 to describe oneself when he/she makes an excuse for being poor at something.
音痴 consists of the two kanji characters “音” (on) and “痴” (chi). The former means “sound”, and the latter means “irrational”. This word is sometimes written in katakana as “オンチ”, especially when it is used as a suffix.
Because I’m Onchi (a bad singer), I can only sing songs of SMAP
(Note) SMAP used to be one of the most popular male idol groups, but it broke up this year. Some of their songs are very popular among 音痴 people because they are very famous and easy to sing.
Because my mother is Kikai onchi (poor at using technology), she cannot understand how to use a smart phone.
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 (see above)