Etymology 1Edit

(まゐ)らす (mairasu)まらす (marasu)まっす (massu)ます (masu)

The -ます ending is generally believed to have come from the Old Japanese auxiliary verb (まゐ)らす (mairasu, to humbly do something for a superior), with idiomatic use arising from the causative conjugation of 参る (mairu, to come or go to the place of a social superior, humble verb; ancient reading mawiru).[1][2]

The intermediate forms まらす (marasu) and まっす (massu) were valid as both 下二段活用(しもにだんかつよう) (shimo nidan katsuyō) conjugations and 行変格活用(ぎょうへんかくかつよう) (sa-gyō henkaku katsuyō) conjugations, even though they originally came from a purely 下二段活用(しもにだんかつよう) (shimo nidan katsuyō) conjugation, leading to constructions off the 連用形(れんようけい) (ren'yōkei) in the modern paradigm for -ます using the -まし stem.


  • In Tokyo speech, the accent falls somewhere in the suffix, regardless of the accent type of the suffixed verb:[3]
    • If the suffix is in the form ます (-masu) or ました (-mashita, past/perfective form), the accent of the verb construction falls on the first mora of the suffix.
    • If the suffix is in the form ましょう (-mashō, volitional/conjectural form) or ません (-masen, negative form), the accent of the verb construction falls on the second mora of the suffix.
  • There are a few exceptions like 恐れ入る: れいる [òsóꜜrèìrù] (Nakadaka) → れいります [òsóꜜrèìrìmàsù] (Nakadaka).


ます (-masu

Alternative spellings
坐す (rare, dated)
  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
  2. (rare, humble) to do; expresses humbleness
Usage notesEdit

Classical forms:

Alternative form (to do):

Derived termsEdit
See alsoEdit

Etymology 2Edit

The kana spelling of several native words.


For pronunciation and definitions of ます – see the following entries.
[noun] trout, sea trout: more specifically, fish belonging to genera of the family Salmonidae: Salmo, Oncorhynchus, Coregonus, or Salvelinus
Alternative spelling
[noun] masu (square wooden box)
[noun] cell of a grid
Alternative spellings
, , , マス
[verb] to increase
[verb] (of water) to rise
Alternative spelling
(This term, ます, is the hiragana spelling of the above terms.)
For a list of all kanji read as ます, see Category:Japanese kanji read as ます.)

(The following entry is uncreated: .)


  1. ^ 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. ^ 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN
  3. ^ Online Japanese Accent Dictionary (OJAD)