Japanese vocabulary word: 着膨れ (kibukure)

By | December 22, 2019

I give special value to vocabulary words or expressions that I have learned through interaction with native speakers. No matter how much you read or watch forms of Japanese media (books, manga, movies, etc.), it just seems there are some things you have to experience yourself by using Japanese in daily life. In this post, I’d like to introduce one of these words: “kibukure” (着膨れ).

When I first heard this word, it was unfamiliar to me and from the context I couldn’t figure out the meaning, so I asked it to be explained to me. Once I heard what it meant I was able to put together that it was a compound of two verbs.

The first verb is 着る (kiru), used to describe wearing clothes, especially those on the top part of the body (shirts, etc.). Keep in mind that clothes for other areas use different words, like 履く (haku) for shoes or pants.

The second verb is 膨れる (fukureru), which means “to swell” or “to expand”. The reason the combination of these words is “kibukure” instead of “kifukure” is due to phenomenon called “rendaku” which I wrote about here some time ago.

If you put together the meaning of these words you may be able to guess the meaning of 着膨れ, which is when someone “swells up” because of wearing several layers of clothing, typically due to cold weather. My dictionary has two translations for this: “look fat with layers of clothes”––which sounds a bit unnatural, though it conveys the concept––and “bundled up in heavy clothes”, which sounds more natural but lacks the negative nuance of “fat”. In any case, the best translation will depend on the specific situation.

I heard this word used when someone wearing a thick jacket looked in the mirror and said something like:

  • 着膨れ酷い (kibukure hidoi)
  • I look fat with all these clothes on.

In the above phrase “kibukure” is used as a noun, but you can also use it as a verb with the helper verb する (suru). For example:

  • この服では着膨れしないよ (kono fuku de wa kibukure shinai yo)
  • These clothes don’t make me look fat.

Alternately, you can use it in the verb form 着膨れる (kibukureru), but I have never heard this, and online the usage seems much less frequent than the others I mentioned above.

(Note: picture of a baby wearing winter clothes taken from Pexels.com)

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2 thoughts on “Japanese vocabulary word: 着膨れ (kibukure)

  1. Moazbellah Elgabry

    Thank you for sharing this word.
    after many years of learning Japanese, It becomes difficult to learn new “practical” words (since there aren’t many chances to talk about topics and things I’m not familiar with already)
    so, I’m always thrilled to learn words like this, especially those that can be used right away.
    I think I’ll be using this word a lot because I suffer from a chronic 着膨れ.

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year,


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