Imo (芋): Another Meaning of the Japanese Word

Imo (いも/イモ/芋) is a Japanese word for beginners to the language, which generally refers to or has the meaning of potato.

Imo (芋)

Imo (Jaga-Imo)

Imo (Pronunciation) is actually not the name of a variety.

But it is the umbrella term for nutrients-stored and enlarged edible plant roots and rhizomes, except for bulbs like an onion or Tamanegi (玉ねぎ). 

The tuber is a nutritious food rich in carbohydrates, such as starch, and its cultivation is easy.

Because of that, Imo today has been a staple in the diet in many parts of the world.


Yama-Imo (Jinenjo)

The varieties of Imo commonly used in cooking in Japan include

Another Meaning of Imo

We also use the word Imo (芋) for a person, often in the form of Imoppoi (芋っぽい: like Imo), in which case it means unsophisticated or uncool.

This Imo has a negative or sarcastic meaning and can be offensive to the targeted individual, so be careful when you use it.

Sentence Examples

  • あの男性歌手は芋だ。: That male singer is uncool (or unattractive in appearance).
  • 彼女は芋っぽい。: She is unsophisticated (like Imo).

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia , Goo Japanese Dictionary )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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