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Derived as compound of どう (, how, question word) +‎ (mo, ever, even, also, particle).[1] Literal meaning is close to “no matter how, howsoever, in all cases”. Idiomatically and semantically used as an intensifier in specific contexts. Compare とても (totemo, very).



どうも (rōmaji dōmo)

  1. no matter how, not at all (used with a negative verb)
    どうも理解 (りかい)できない。
    Dōmo rikai dekinai.
    No matter how, I can't understand it. → I just can't understand it.
  2. somehow, something
    どうもこの (ひと) (はな) (かた) (へん)だ。
    Dōmo kono hito no hanashikata ga hen da.
    This person's way of talking is strange somehow. / There's something strange in how this person talks.
  3. quite, very much
    あの商人 (あきんど)どうもしつこいよね。
    Ano akindo wa dōmo shitsukoi yo ne.
    That shopkeeper is quite persistent, isn't he.


どうも (rōmaji dōmo)

  1. (short for どうもありがとう (dōmo arigatō)) thanks
  2. (short for どうもすみません (dōmo sumimasen)) sorry, excuse me

Usage notesEdit

Expressions of thanks are given below in rough order of casual to polite. Note that gozaimasu changes to gozaimashita when referring to events in the past.

Coordinate termsEdit


  1. ^ 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. ^ 1998, NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 (NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: NHK, →ISBN
  3. ^ 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN