Etymology 1Edit

Kanji in this term
Grade: 2
Alternative spelling

From () (o, honorific prefix) + (まえ) (mae, front), literally "honourable presence in front of me". Originally a polite pronoun applied to highly respected persons such as emperors or gods.[1][2]

First attested in the early 900s.[1]

Alternative formsEdit



(まえ) (omaeおまへ (omafe)?

  1. [from early 900s] (informal, men's speech; or dialect) you
    • 1915, Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, 羅生門 [Rashōmon]:
      Ore wa kebiishi no chō no yakunin nado de wa nai. Imashigata kono mon no shita o tōrikakatta tabi no mono da. Dakara omae ni nawa o kakete, dō shiyō to iu yō na koto wa nai.
      I am not an official of law enforcement, but simply a traveller who's happened to come across this gate a few moments ago. I'm not here to bind you in ropes or any nonsense of the sort.
Usage notesEdit
  • Slightly condescending if used by a higher status peer to refer to a lower status peer, very informal between close equal-status peers; impolite in other situations.
  • In many Japanese dialects, it is rather the standard 2nd-person pronoun, equivalent in usage to standard Japanese あなた (anata).
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

Kanji in this term
Grade: 2


Corruption of (まえ) (omae). First attested in 1777.[1]



(めえ) or () (omē or ome

  1. [from 1777] (dialectal, Edo, Tōhoku) you (standard second-person pronoun)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN