Deku – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Japanese TV has risen in popularity in recent years, as a result, so has many common phrases. Often you will hear someone refer to a person or event as deku, but without context it is easy to get confused.

Have you ever wondered what “Deku” actually means? Have you ever watched a Japanese character of this name? And think of yourself. It’s a common phrase, but its usage can be confusing.

Let’s look at the meaning of Deku and how it came to be used! The term “Deku” has quite a storied history.


Deku is a Japanese word that initially refers to a type of wooden doll. It can be translated to mean “useless,” “weakling,” or “good-for-nothing.”

Often it is used to mean a slow witted person or a person who follows instructions blindly. Most often it means stupid or illiterate.

Deku is also used to refer to the main character of the My Hero Academia anime series. It is often used as an insult, particularly towards men. It is also used in a more general sense to describe someone clumsy or inept.

Example Usage

“He’s such a Deku!”

“Don’t be such a Deku!”

“You’re as stupid as a Deku!”

“What a Deku thing to do!”

“Only a Deku would believe that!”

“Don’t be such a Deku! Act like a real human!”

“That new intern is such a Deku. He can’t even make coffee correctly”.


The word Deku comes from the Japanese 者 (deku), which initially referred to a type of traditional wooden doll. Over time, however, it has come to be used more broadly to refer to a foolish person. It is a mocking nickname given to people deemed incompetent or unable to think for themselves.

Phrases Similar to Deku

  • “Dummy” is an object designed to imitate and replace something natural or ordinary.
  • “Idiot” is a person of less intelligence.
  • “Brainless” is a foolish person.
  • “Moron” is a stupid person.

Phrases opposite to Deku

  • “Genius” means a highly intelligent or skilled person in a particular field of activity.
  • “Intelligent” means possessing or referring to a high or satisfactory level of intelligence and psychic
  • “Quick-witted” is the ability to think or react quickly or effectively.
  • Smarty pants.

What is The Correct Saying?

“Deku” is the most common and correct way to say it. If you are using it as an insult, it would be something like “Baka Deku,” a dummy or idiot.

Ways People May Incorrectly Say Deku

  • People may incorrectly interpret “Deku” as Dekiru. “Dekiru” is not the same as Deku and has an entirely different meaning. “Dekiru” means “to be able to do something” or “to have the ability to do something.” It is not an insult.
  • People may incorrectly say Deku as “Deko”, “Deku-Kun”, or “Deku-Chan”. These are not the correct ways to say it.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Deku

Deku is used in informal settings and should not be used in formal settings. Deku is also used as a term of endearment between friends. If you are close to someone, you might call them Deku to show your affection.

 Here are some phrases you could use:

  • What’s up, Deku?
  • Hey, Deku!
  • You are such a Deku, you keep parking in the wrong spot every day.
  • What’s going on, Deku?
  • I can’t stand her, she acts just like a Deku all the time.
  • What is wrong Deku? You can’t make a decision without your master?
  • Living life as a Deku means you are not really living at all.

Deku is not typically used to start a sentence but can be used in the middle or end. It is essential to be careful with how you use Deku, as it can come across as very rude if used in the wrong way.

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