CultureEssayEtymologyJapanese traditionKanjiSlangUncorrected

Manbiki (万引き – Shoplifting)

  • Manbiki


    Never do an act called “manbiki” (万引き).

    “Manbiki” means to take items of a store away without payment and permission — it’s called “shoplifting” in English.

    The most accepted theory about the etymology of “manbiki” is that it was changed from “mabiki” (間引き).

    The “ma” (間) means “between something,” the “biki/hiki” (引き) means “to pull out,” and “mabiki” usually means “thinning” in agricultural science.
    「間」は “between something,’ 「引き」は “to pull out” を意味し、「間引き」は農業などにおける “thinning” を意味します。

    It’s thought that since removing items from a shelf is similar to thinning, “mabiki” came to mean “shoplifting,” then it changed to “manbiki.”

    Original sentence