Living in a country with a lot of incorrect "english-like" expressions, I am in doubt. Is "NG" correct english? (meaning the opposite of "OK") If not, what is the opposite of "OK"?

  • A friend used to work for the Atomic Energy Authority, and was amazed how many test stickers were attached to every piece of equipment. To gauge how important they were, he had his own stickers printed: they said "NEIGE". Over the next few years, he started sticking them onto pieces of equipment, and nobody ever questioned what they were for, or what they meant. NEIGE is his personal acronym for "Near Enough is Good Enough". IMHO, NG ranks only slightly less obscure than NEIGE.
    – JavaLatte
    Dec 4, 2017 at 2:25
  • Am a fluent English speaker but no native speaker. To me "NG" wasn't familiar either. Saw "NG" near "OK" in compatibility charts for Chinese electronic products which are directly marketed to Western customers on Amazon, i.e. this SSD adapter.
    – porg
    Mar 8, 2021 at 20:53

6 Answers 6


No, NG is not understandable in common American English – its common use is Japanese English. I am a native speaker of American English, and first heard “NG” when learning Japanese. Apparently it is used in technical contexts, especially film (“bad take”), but not in everyday American speech.

  • 2
    It's not used in Canadian English either, except perhaps as an slang online abbreviation and only when it's obvious by context. Dec 4, 2017 at 2:36
  • 1
    I was browsing the Panasonic website and noticed the acronym "NG". Incidentally, they are a Japanese company. May 17, 2021 at 12:44

Never heard of NG to mean "No good".

As an antonym of OK, you can say:

Bad/Wrong/Not good/No good/Not correct.

Some people also say "Not OK".


I work in TV/Film/Commercial production in Taiwan(ASIA). People often say NG as NO GOOD or NOT GOOD. However, I've never hear anyone saying this out of 15 years of living in California.


I also heard it for the first time in Japan, so I have always assumed it was another example of "Japanese English." But I just saw it used in this video clip from a 1977 British television show (Link time-stamped to one minute). https://youtu.be/mUF4afxMpQk?t=60

A post on another question/answer site says "NG" was used during the post WW2 occupation in Japan to mark things for censorship, but the source of this story is the following Japanese Wikipedia link which doesn't mention anything along those lines. https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/NG_(%E6%94%BE%E9%80%81%E7%94%A8%E8%AA%9E)

The Wikipedia article does mentioned it used as a term for bloopers or outtakes in English speaking countries, which coincides with the video clip I linked above. I also found it as an entry ("N.G.") in the following book which is available online for text searching: International Dictionary of Broadcasting and Film by Desi Bognar (pg. 172) ISBN-13: 978-0240803760 ISBN-10: 0330440497 https://www.google.com/books/edition/International_Dictionary_of_Broadcasting/Aqk0DwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=inauthor%3A%22Desi%20Bognar%22&pg=PT233&printsec=frontcover&bsq=N.G.

It seems to be a common term in broadcasting that isn't used in daily conversation (in America, not sure about Britain), but definitely used in Japan and apparently other parts of Asia.

  • Hi, welcome to ELL! Good answer!
    – Eddie Kal
    Jan 16, 2021 at 19:28

"NG" is not an acronym in common use, but it would probably be understood by many speakers, as people come up with new acronyms all the time (especially teenagers when their parents learn the latest slang from the internet)

For example, the acronym "SNS" to mean "sorry not sorry" is relatively new, at least according to my 17-year old nephew.

The opposite of "OK" is "not OK". I'm sure there are various shorthand expressions that mean "not good" but these might vary depending on context.

In any case, all these are considered slang expressions, and therefore none of them are "incorrect". Different groups use different slang, that's all.


I'm a California resident, and I use NG all the time...but only with my coworkers. I work in consumer electronics engineering, and at work we use NG to refer to a defective part that failed a test, or more generally refer to any process that is unacceptable. This is helpful when navigating language barriers with our suppliers.

But we also now use it to refer to anything that is not good or unacceptable.

"Don't get the noodles—they're NG."

"The situation in the lab is NG."

"How's it going?" "NG...smh"

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