- Saitei meaning
- How to use
- Casual use
- Its antonym
- Similar one
- Summary of “saitei” and other related words
Saitei meaningFirst of all, let’s start with a definition and meanings of “saitei”.
- saitei – 最低 (さいてい) : a noun meaning ‘the worst’, ‘the lowest’, ‘minimum’ or such. It is also used like an adjective in conversation. Learn more about adjective-like use of Japanese nouns.
- sai – 最 (さい) : a prefix to add a nuance of ‘the most’ to a following word. It’s widely used in Japanese.
- tei – 低 (てい) : a kanji character to mean ‘bad’, ‘low’ or ‘small’ in amount, level or value.
How to use
Typical exampleThen let’s check how to use “saitei”. Below is a typical example.
- anata – あなた : a pronoun to mean ‘you’. Depending on context, it can be used to call a husband. It could sound a bit old fashioned though.
- wa – は : a binding particle working as a case maker or topic maker. Here it works as a case maker and helps the pronoun, “anata”, to become the subject in the sentence.
- da – だ : an auxiliary verb used to make a simple assertion or declaration.
As always, other words used together can have an effect on its meaning. I will explain it through the next example.
Use with “demo”When “saitei” is used together with a binding particle, “demo“, its meaning can be a bit different. Please take a look at an example below.
- watashi – 私 (わたし) : a pronoun corresponding well to English one, “I”.
- demo – でも : a binding particle put after a word which expresses an extreme condition, meaning ‘even if’, ‘even though’ or ‘no matter how’.
- ichi – 一 (いち) : a numeral to mean ‘one’.
- jikan – 時間 (じかん) : a noun to mean ‘time’ in general. When it follows a numeral directly, it usually means ‘hour’.
- aruku – 歩く (あるく) : a verb meaning ‘to walk’.
Casual useThen, let’s check its casual use.
At the first glance, we can find katakana expression used instead. Japanese young people often use its katakana expression on texting apps. They know katakana characters can be helpful to make words casual, soft and cute.
In addition to this, we can find a sign, “ー”. It is widely used to express elongation of the previous vowel. So, now, “サイテー” expresses a pronunciation, “saitee”. This is different from the correct one, “saitei”. In reality, however, there is no clear border between these two pronunciations in daily conversation. Therefore, the expression, “サイテー”, will not cause any problem. On contrary, it expresses well the actual pronunciation of Japanese native speakers. The same thing can also happen to a sound of “ou”. It often becomes “oo” or just “o”.
Speaking of conversation, I have to mention the fact that Japanese people often omit particles in conversation. Actually, the casual Japanese sentence above does not contain any particle. This is one of the most difficult points in Japanese conversation, I think. Particles themselves are very important, but Japanese people don’t use them that much. Japanese learners need to learn not only how to use them but how to omit them as well.
Let’s get back on track. Anyway, when “saitei” is used in a casual way, its katakana expression with the sign, “ー”, is often used. Plus, it often follows a prior word directly.
Its antonymSo far, I’ve explained the noun, “saitei”. In the next paragraphs, I will explain its antonym.
- saiko – 最高 (さいこう) : a noun meaning ‘the best’, ‘the highest’, ‘maximum’ or such.
- ko – 高 (こう) : a kanji character to mean ‘high’, ‘good’ or ‘big’ in amount, level or value.
Japanese people often use this noun. Normally It would fit with both formal and casual situations, but we need to be careful with its use. When it is used alone, namely, “saiko” only, it could sound a bit casual. When we need to use it in formal situations, we should use other words together and try to make a full sentence as follows.
Typical use of “saiko”
This is a typical use of “saiko”. For Japanese leaners, it would be very helpful to say “awesome” in Japanese. Only they need to do is just to say “saiko”.
By the way, the prefix, “sai”, helps us a lot in making new words. With its help, Japanese people have invented these kinds of nouns up until now. Actually, there is a noun which is very similar to “saitei”.
Similar oneBelow is the one.
- saiaku – 最悪 (さいあく) : a noun to mean ‘the worst’, ‘the lowest’ or such.
- aku – 悪 (あく) : a kanji character to mean ‘bad’, ‘evil’ or such.
Summary of “saitei” and other related wordsIn this blog post, I’ve explained the noun, “saitei”, its antonym and the similar one. Let me summarize as follows.
- saitei – 最低 (さいてい) : a noun meaning ‘the worst’, ‘the lowest’, ‘minimum’ or such. It is also used like an adjective in conversation. When it is used together with the particle, “demo”, it can mean ‘at least’ or ‘at minimum’. Its katakana expression gives us a casual expression.
- saiko – 最高 (さいこう) : a noun meaning ‘the best’, ‘the highest’, ‘maximum’ or such. It is the antonym of “saitei”.
- saiaku – 最悪 (さいあく) : a noun to mean ‘the worst’, ‘the lowest’ or such. It focuses more on ‘badness’, so Japanese people rarely use it to mean ‘low’ in level or value.
Japanese Particles Master
Masaki Mori is a Japanese particles master. Through teaching Japanese language, he is trying to spread the culture of Japan. His goal is to preserve it as much as possible.