Gokuaku (極悪): Meaning & Usage in Japanese

The word Saiaku (最悪) may remind some Japanese learners of Gokuaku (極悪), whose literal meaning is Extremely Bad.

As I wrote in the previous post, we often use Saiaku and Saitei (最低) the same way, but Gokuaku differs in usage from the two phrases.

Gokuaku (極悪) in Japanese

Gokuaku Meaning in Japanese

As previously mentioned, Saiaku (最悪) is the Japanese word for “the worst” in English and describes terrible things based on objective facts.

Meanwhile, referring to the lowest, Saitei (最低) describes things that are not good and are low-degree from subjective judgment. 

But unlike the two, we use the term Gokuaku, meaning heinous or villainous or atrocious, towards social evils. For example,

  • 極悪な犯罪: Heinous Crime
  • 極悪な犯罪者: Villainous Criminal
  • 極悪非道な男: Atrocious Man
  • 極悪非道な事件: Atrocious Incident

Like Saitei-Saiaku (最低最悪: meaning the worst of the worst), Gokuaku-Hido (極悪非道) is the emphasized form of 極悪, as Hido or Hidou (非道) means “inhuman” in Japanese.

(Reference Pages: Goo Japanese Dictionary 極悪, Usage of Gokuaku )


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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