The meaning of subarashii (素晴らしい) in Japanese and how to use it

This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the Japanese word subarashii, including its Japanese definition and translation, usage, example sentences, alternative terms, and more!

What does subarashii mean?

The Japanese word subarashii (素晴らしい、すばらしい) is an “i” adjective that means great or wonderful. Note that the “ii” at the end sounds like a long letter “E”.

To say “that’s great” would simply be sore wa subarashii (それは素晴らしい). If you want to make the sentence more polite, then you can add desu (pronounced dess) to make it sore wa subarashii desu.

Below, we take a look at some examples of the various ways you can use subarashii in Japanese.

To make it easier for you, I have written each sentence in full Japanese kanji on the first line, followed by roman letters (romaji), and hiragana, with the English meaning coming last. I have also highlighted the new word in bold.

Example sentences using subarashii

Subarashii means great or wonderful in Japanese.

Tomodachi wa subarashii hito desu.
My friend is a great person.

Subarashii shiai deshita.
It was a great match.

Kanojo wa mainichi subarashii ryouri wo tsukutte kureta.
She made wonderful food for us every day.

Totemo subarashii: Really great

Want to emphasize the sheer awesomeness of something even more? You can say totemo subarashii (とても素晴らしい). Totemo means very or really.

Hontou ni subarashii (本当に素晴らしい) is another alternative with a similar meaning. However, note that you cannot use sugoku together with subarashii.

Obasan wa totemo subarashii hito da yo.
My aunt is a really great person.

Totemo subarashii eiga deshita.
It was a really wonderful movie.

Hontouni subarashii ichinichi datta ne.
It was a really wonderful day, wasn’t it?

Alternative words

Suteki (素敵、すてき) means nice or wonderful. Interestingly enough, its first kanji (素) also appears in subarashii. Suteki is a “na” adjective, so it is usually said as suteki na before the word it modifies. In this case, we can use sugoku to add the sense of really or very.

Sugoku suteki na doresu da ne!
That’s a really nice dress!

Saikou (最高、さいこう) means great or awesome. This usage is pretty casual, though I wouldn’t describe it as slang. I wrote an article about it here.

Kinou no tenki wa saikou datta yo.
The weather was great yesterday.

Kaiteki (快適、かいてき) means pleasant or comfortable. Kaiteki is also a “na” adjective. I would say this is a slightly more “grown up” word by tone, so it has a sophisticated feeling to it.

Kono hoteru wa kaiteki desu.
This hotel is pleasant.