Grammar of the Week: bohtto suru

“Bohtto suru” (ぼーっとする).

Brain fart. To go blank. To be unable to think.  To zone out.**  To zone out, relax, laze around, "doing nothing special." That is, ぼーっとする.

**A bit of an edit, but I ended up writing about what might be the English equivalents of "bohtto suru" on Lang-8 the other day, and got some really helpful comments about the phrase.

ash says,  "The Japanese 「ぼーっとする」 also means 'to relax' or 'doing nothing'" [my translation]. He gives the following example:

A: 何してるの?(What are you doing?)
B: ボーっとしているだけ。(I'm just relaxing.)

Eigolove mentions the various ways you can use 「ぼーっとする」: 頭がボーッとする。頭がボーッとしている。きれいな人をボーッと見ていた。She offers the following:


mikaringo7 also provides the kind of context a native speaker might use  「ぼーっとする」 in:

["Oh, I'm sorry, I zoned out and didn't hear what you were saying.']
[''You've been zoning out all day today.']

tsy says: "The Japanese phrase 「ボーっとする」 and "zone out" look to be one and the same. I feel like the other English phrases are a little different" [my translation].

megu agrees, saying  "If I hear 「ぼーっとする」 the first meaning that pops into my head is 'relaxing, thinking about nothing and being carefree'. I feel like we don't say 「ぼーっとする」 when we're thinking of something with all our might but just can't say it. 'Zone out' is a perfect expression of 「ぼーっとする」 or 「ぼんやりする」. [my translation]"

As you can see, my original evaluation of what English might be equivalent to  「ぼーっとする」 was a bit skewed, so I've replaced it.It would be better to define it as: zone out, relax, laze around, "doing nothing special".

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