Last modified on 9 December 2014, at 18:05




ます (romaji masu)

  1. , , , : a square wooden measuring cup
  2. : a trout
  3. マス: a mass (as in a crowd or lump)


ます (romaji masu)

  1. 益す, 増す: to increase
  2. 在す, 坐す: to be (honorific; rare)
  3. 申す: to speak
  4. 摩す, 磨す: to rub, scrub, polish, chafe


The -ます ending is generally believed to have come from the Old Japanese auxiliary verb mawirasuru (mairasuru: to humbly do something for a superior; idiomatic use arising from the causative conjugation of 参る (mairu)) → marasurumassurumasurumasu.


ます (romaji masu)

  1. expresses politeness toward and distance from the listener: vaguely similar to the social context indicated by the usted verb conjugation in Spanish, the vous conjugation in French, or the Sie conjugation in German

Other forms not attested.

Usage notesEdit

Connects to the continuative form (連用形 (ren'yōkei)) of a verb and inflects partially like type 1 verbs. The imperative forms are only used with honorific verbs, e.g. いらっしゃいませ (irasshaimase), なさいませ (nasaimase), 下さいませ (kudasaimase). The perfective has an irregular negative form ませんでした (masen deshita); the hypothetical conditional is rare. The old dictionary form まする is still sometimes used. When there is a choice, attaches last: e.g. polite passive is 話されます (hanasaremasu), not 話しまされる (*hanashimasareru).

Alternative formsEdit
See alsoEdit