Covered by something

This is a short lesson to cover several specialized expressions that describe the state of being covered by something. Mostly, we will focus on the differences between 「だらけ」、「まみれ」 and 「ずくめ」.

Using 「だらけ」 when an object is riddled everywhere with something


  1. 間違い 【ま・ちが・い】 – mistake
  2. ゴミ – garbage
  3. 埃 【ほこり】 – dust
  4. この – this (abbr. of これの)
  5. ドキュメント – document
  6. 全然 【ぜん・ぜん】 – not at all (when used with negative)
  7. 役に立つ 【やく・に・たつ】 (u-verb) – to be useful
  8. 携帯 【けい・たい】 – handheld (phone)
  9. ~年 【~ねん】 – counter for year
  10. 使う 【つか・う】 (u-verb) – to use
  11. 傷 【き・ず】 – injury; scratch; scrape
  12. なる (u-verb) – to become
  13. テレビ – TV, television
  14. ちゃんと – properly
  15. 拭く 【ふ・く】 (u-verb) – to wipe; to dry
  16. くれる (ru-verb) – to give

「だらけ」 is usually used when something is riddled everywhere. It generally carries a negative connotation. As a result, you’ll often see 「だらけ」 used with expressions like 「間違いだらけ」, 「ゴミだらけ」, or 「埃だらけ」. There is no conjugation rule to cover here, all you need to do is attach 「だらけ」 to the noun that is just all over the place. You should treat the result just like you would a regular noun.

Using 「だらけ」 to describe the state of being riddled everywhere by something

  • Attach 「だらけ」 to the noun that is covering the object or place

    1. 間違い → 間違いだらけ (riddled with mistakes)
    2. 埃 → 埃だらけ (riddled with dust)


  1. このドキュメントは間違いだらけで、全然役に立たない。
    This document is just riddled with mistakes and is not useful at all.
  2. 携帯を2年間使ってたら、傷だらけになった。
    After using cell phone for 2 years, it became covered with scratches.

※Notice how the 「の」 particle is used to modify since 「だらけ」 functions like a noun.

  1. この埃だらけのテレビをちゃんと拭いてくれない?
    Can you properly dust this TV completely covered in dust?

Using 「まみれ」 to describe a covering


  1. 間違い 【ま・ちが・い】 – mistake
  2. 血 【ち】 – blood
  3. 油 【あぶら】 – oil
  4. ゴミ – garbage
  5. 彼 【かれ】 – he; boyfriend
  6. なる (u-verb) – to become
  7. 車 【くるま】 – car
  8. 修理 【しゅう・り】 – repair
  9. 頑張る 【がん・ば・る】 (u-verb) – to try one’s best
  10. たった – only, merely
  11. キロ – kilo
  12. 走る 【はし・る】 (u-verb) – to run
  13. 汗 【あせ】 – sweat
  14. 情けない 【なさ・けない】 (i-adj) – shameful; deplorable

「まみれ」 may seem very similar to 「だらけ」 but there are some very important subtle differences. First, it’s only used for actually physical objects so you can’t say things like 「間違いまみれ」 like you can with 「だらけ」. Plus, you can only use it for things that literally cover the object. In other words, you can’t use it to mean “littered” or “riddled” like we have done with 「だらけ」 So you can use it for things like liquids and dust, but you can’t use it for things like scratches and garbage.

The grammatical rules are the same as 「だらけ」.

Using 「まみれ」 to describe a covering by sticking

  • Like 「だらけ」, you attach 「まみれ」 to the noun that is doing covering.

    1. 血 → 血まみれ (covered in blood)
    2. 油 → 油まみれ (covered in oil)
  • You can only use 「まみれ」 for physical objects that literally covers the object.

    1. 間違いまみれ (not a physical object)
    2. ゴミまみれ (doesn’t actually cover anything)


  1. 彼は油まみれになりながら、車の修理に頑張りました。
    While becoming covered in oil, he worked hard at fixing the car.
  2. たった1キロを走っただけで、汗まみれになるのは情けない。
    It’s pitiful that one gets covered in sweat from running just 1 kilometer.

「ずくめ」 to express entirety


  1. 黒 【くろ】 – black
  2. 白 【しろ】 – white
  3. いい (i-adj) – good
  4. こと – event, matter
  5. 団体 【だん・たい】 – group
  6. 去年 【きょ・ねん】 – last year
  7. ニュース – news
  8. なる (u-verb) – to become
  9. この – this (abbr. of これの)
  10. シェーク – shake
  11. おいしい (i-adj) – tasty
  12. 栄養 【えい・よう】 – nutrition
  13. たっぷり – filled with
  14. 体 【からだ】 – body

The 「大辞林」 dictionary describes exactly what 「ずくめ」 means very well.


In other words, 「ずくめ」 describes something that applies to the whole thing. For instance, if we were talking about the human body, the expression “is [X] from head to toe” might be close to what 「ずくめ」 means.

In actuality, 「ずくめ」 is an expression that is rarely used and usually with a color to describe people completely dressed in that color. For example, you can see what 「黒ずくめ」 looks like via Google Images.

Grammatically, 「ずくめ」 works in exactly the same ways as 「だらけ」 and 「まみれ」.

Using 「ずくめ」 to describe something that applies to the whole thing

  • Attach 「ずくめ」 to the noun that applies to the whole thing.

    1. 白 → 白ずくめ
    2. いいこと → いいことずくめ


  1. 白ずくめ団体は去年ニュースになっていた。
    The organization dressed all in white was on the news last year.
  2. このシェークは、おいしいし、栄養たっぷりで体にいいですから、いいことずくめですよ。
    This shake is tasty and filled with nutrients, it’s good for (your) body so it’s entirely good things.
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