The meaning of ukeru (受ける) in Japanese and how to use it

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

What does ukeru mean?

Ukeru (受ける、うける) means to receive or to undergo. This common Japanese verb can be used in a wide range of situations such as receiving instructions, undergoing surgery, accepting a task, and so on. The English equivalent will vary depending on the context.

The basic meaning of ukeru in these settings essentially gets at receiving something in a broad sense (i.e., undergoing surgery is like receiving it, by this logic). If you remember this concept, ukeru should begin to make more sense when you come across it in Japanese.

That’s funny

Young people also use ukeru to mean that’s funny in slang. In this case, it is written as ウケる.

Below, we take a look at some examples of how to use ukeru 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.

Example sentences using ukeru

The Japanese word ukeru means to receive or get something.

Ojisan ga shujyutsu wo ukeru koto ni shita.
My uncle decided to undergo surgery.

Dare demo wakuchin wo ukeru koto ga dekiru.
Anyone can get the vaccine.

Amerika jin no sensei kara jyugyou wo uketeiru.
I am getting lessons from an American teacher.

Note that the past participle of ukeru is uketa (受けた), as follows.

Jyoushi kara shiji wo uketa.
I received instructions from my boss.

Nihongo nouryoku shiken wo uketa koto aru?
Have you ever taken the Japanese Language Proficiency Test?

Ukeru: Slang for funny

As mentioned above, ukeru can also be used as slang to mean that’s funny. Depending on the situation, this usage can sometimes have a slightly ironic or mocking tone. This term is mostly used by young people, so bear in mind that you might sound a little silly if you’re older 😉

Chou ukerun dakedo!
That’s pretty damn funny!