The Japanese word „doki doki“ (ドキドキ, どきどき) is a so-called Japanese onomatopoeic word – a word that expresses, mimics, or is associated with a particular sound. In Japan, „doki doki“ refers to the sound of a beating heart and usually refers to a pounding heart or a heart that beats at an accelerated pace.
What does Doki Doki mean? Translation, meaning, definition, explanation
In english, „doki doki“ can be translated as follows:
- beating heart
- accelerated heartbeat
- the feeling that the heart is beating (fast)
- sound of a (fast) beating heart
Most often the reason for the heart beating and the „doki doki“ sound is a positive – emotion such as love, excitement or anticipation of something that is going to happen.
It can also be due to being shy, embarrassed or nervous about being too close to someone you like or being alone with your crush. It can also be caused by negative emotions, such as anxiety or fear.
There are a number of onomatopoeias with the same meaning as „doki doki“ (ドキドキ, どきどき) in Japanese. For example, „ba-dump ba-dump“, „lub dub“, „thump thump“ or „pit-a-pat“, are very similar.
- ba-dump ba-dump
- lub dub lub dub
- thump thump
- pitter patter
When you are excited or nervous and your heart starts pounding or racing, you can express this feeling by saying „doki doki“ (ドキドキ, どきどき) or „doki doki suru“ (ドキドキする) in Japanese.
The meaning of „Doki Doki“ in anime & manga
In anime and manga, the japanese word „Doki Doki“ (ドキドキ) stands for the sound of a rapidly beating heart and usually means that the character has fallen in love. It illustrates that the character is excited, nervous, or full of anticipation. The corresponding onomatopoeic in english is „ba-dump ba-dump“.
Translation: ba-dump ba-dump (sound of a fast beating heart)
Meaning: love, excited, nervous, full of anticipation, etc.
Very often in anime and manga, „doki doki“ (ドキドキ) refers to the feeling we describe in English as butterflies in the stomach. You see many female anime characters, but also shy male characters, blushing in all kinds of romantic situations and their hearts going „doki doki“.
That’s why you encounter the word „doki doki“ (ドキドキ) most often when a character falls in love, sees her crush standing somewhere, talks to her crush for the first time (alone), receives a nice text message or a cute picture, confesses her love, or when two characters touch or kiss (for the first time).
Every now and then, the word „doki doki“ (ドキドキ) is also used in anime and manga when someone is shocked, scared, or freaked out and their heartbeat went up due to fear or anxiety. However, in my own experience, the word is used less frequently than in the context of love or romantic situations.
How do you use „Doki Doki“ in a sentence?
In english, you can use „doki doki“ as an example in a sentence „Horror movies make me doki-doki“. In a japanese sentence, you can use the word „doki doki“ (ドキドキ, どきどき) alone, or you can use the phrase „doki doki suru“ (ドキドキする, どきどきする) to say that you are excited or nervous.
Here are some examples:
1. example: Doki Doki – means „Ba-dump Ba-dump“ or „Thump Thump“.
The Japanese word „doki doki“ (ドキドキ, どきどき) can be used as a standalone expression or as an onomatopoeia meaning „ba-dump ba-dump“ or „thump thump“. So in Japanese, you can simply say the two words „doki doki“ to imitate the sound of the heart beating (fast) and express that you are excited or nervous.
I am excited
I am nervous
* ba-dump ba-dump *
*sound of a fast beating heart*
Of course, depending on the situation, it can also be translated as „I’m scared“ or „I’m afraid“.
2. example: Doki Doki Suru – Means „I am excited“ or „I am nervous“.
The Japanese word „doki doki suru“ (ドキドキする, どきどきする) generally means „I am (so) excited,“ „I am nervous,“ or „I have butterflies in my stomach.“
Doki doki suru.
I am excited.
I am nervous.
I have butterflies in my stomach.
Some of you may be wondering what about „I“, which is „watashi“ (私) in Japanese. Well, when the subject or topic is clear, this part is usually omitted and not included in the whole sentence. You can read more about this in my other blog post, „How to say „I am“ in Japanese – Don’t use watashi (wa)“.
However, you can add the particle ga (が) to explicitly say that your heart is beating or thumping, as shown in the examples below.
Shinzou ga doki doki suru.
My heart is beating fast.
Mune ga doki doki suru.
My heart is pounding.
3. example: Doki Doki Shiteru – Means „My heart beats fast“.
„Doki doki shiteru“ (ドキドキしてる, どきどきしてる) is the present progressive form of „doki doki suru“ (ドキドキする, どきどきする) and is best translated as „My heart is beating (so) fast,“ „My heart is pounding,“ or „My heart is pounding.“ However, it can also mean „I am excited“ or „I am nervous“.
Doki doki shiteru.
I am excited/nervous.
My heart is beating like crazy.
My heart is beating (so) fast.
As before, it can also be used in combination with the particle ga (が).
Shinzou ga doki shiteru.
My heart is beating fast.
Mune ga doki doki shiteru.
My heart is beating like crazy.
4. example: Doki Doki Shita – Means „My heart has gone into my pants“.
When talking about something that happened in the past, you can use the phrase „doki doki shita“ (ドキドキした, どきどきした), which means „I was excited,“ „I was nervous,“ „I was scared,“ „My heart was beating fast,“ „My heart was pounding,“ or „My heart was doing pit-a-pat.“
Doki doki shita.
I was (so) excited/nervous.
My heart was beating fast.
My heart was pounding.
Kanojo wo mite mune ga doki doki shita.
When I saw them, my heart beat like crazy.
Kowakute doki doki shita yo.
I was so scared and nervous!
Summary: Meaning of „Doki doki“
„Doki doki“ (ドキドキ) is a Japanese onomatopoeia that mimics the sound of a beating heart or a faster heartbeat. It can mean that the person is excited, nervous, embarrassed, anxious, or full of anticipation. However, it is most often used in romantic situations and translates to „ba-dump ba-dump“.