- Definition and meanings of saitei
- Kanji used in saitei
- Example of saitei meaning ‘the worst’
- Saitei used with “demo”
- Casual use of saitei
- Example of saiko
- Similar word
Definition and meanings of saiteiFirst of all, let me start with a definition and meanings of “saitei”.
- saitei – 最低 (さいてい) : a noun meaning ‘the worst’, ‘the lowest’, ‘minimum’ or some such in Japanese. It can also be used like an adjective especially in conversation.
To understand its meanings a bit more, let me explain its kanji characters in detail.
Kanji used in saiteiBelow are the kanji used in “saitei”.
- sai – 最 (さい) : a kanji character widely used as a prefix to add a nuance of ‘the most’ to its following word.
- tei – 低 (てい) : a kanji character widely used to mean ‘bad’, ‘low’ or ‘small’ in amount, level or value.
Then, please take a look at the example below.
Example of saitei meaning ‘the worst’
- anata – あなた : a pronoun meaning ‘you’ in Japanese.
- wa – は : a binding particle working as a case maker or topic maker. In the example, it is put after the pronoun, “watashi”, to make the subject word in the sentence.
- da – だ : an auxiliary verb which is often used after a noun, verb, adjective to make a simple assertive or declarative sentence.
Saitei used with “demo”When “saitei” is used together with the binding particle, “demo“, its meaning changes a bit. Please take a look at the example below.
- watashi – 私 (わたし) : a pronoun meaning ‘I’ in Japanese.
- demo – でも : a binding particle which is put after a word expressing an extreme condition to add a nuance of ‘even if’, ‘even though’ or ‘no matter how’.
- ichi – 一 (いち) : a numeral meaning ‘one’ in Japanese.
- jikan – 時間 (じかん) : a noun meaning ‘time’ in Japanese. When it is put after a numeral, it works as a suffix to mean ‘hour(s)’. Learn more about “jikan”.
- aruku – 歩く (あるく) : a verb meaning ‘to walk’ in Japanese.
Casual use of saitei
In addition to katakana, we can also find the sign, “ー”. It is widely used to express the elongation of the previous vowel. In the example, it is used to express the elongation of the vowel sound, “e”. So, the katakana expression, “サイテー”, is pronounced “saitee”. This pronunciation is a bit different from the correct one, “saitei”. In reality, however, there is no clear border between these two especially in 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 also often happens to the “ou” sound. It is often pronounced “oo” or even just “o”.
Speaking of conversation, I have to mention the fact that Japanese people often omit the particles. Actually, the casual Japanese sentence above does not contain any particle. This is one of the most difficult points in Japanese conversation, I think. The particles themselves are definitely very important, but not always used. 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 casually, it is quite often written in katakana.
AntonymSo far, I’ve explained the noun, “saitei”. In the next paragraphs, I will explain its antonym. Below is it.
- saiko – 最高 (さいこう) : a noun meaning ‘the best’, ‘the highest’, ‘maximum’ or some such in Japanese.
- ko – 高 (こう) : a kanji character widely used to mean ‘high’, ‘good’ or ‘big’ in amount, level or value.
Japanese people use it quite often. Normally, it fits with both formal and casual situations. Yet, we need to be careful with its use. When it is used alone, 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.
Example of saiko
This is a typical usage of “saiko”. When we want to say “awesome” in Japanese, it would be a very good choice.
Similar wordBelow is the word similar to “saitei”.
- saiaku – 最悪 (さいあく) : a noun to mean ‘the worst’, ‘the lowest’ or such.
- aku – 悪 (あく) : a kanji character used to mean ‘bad’, ‘evil’ or some such.
SummaryIn this blog post, I’ve explained the noun, “saitei”, in detail based on its kanji expression. And also, I’ve explained its usages, its antonym and the similar word. Let me summarize them 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. 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.
Engineer, Industrial Translator, Blogger
I am trying to spread the Japanese culture through teaching the Japanese language. One of my goals is to make Japanese learners feel the culture through the language.