Etymology 1Edit


The -ます ending is generally believed to have come from the Old Japanese auxiliary verb まゐらする (mawirasuru, 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).

Alternative formsEdit


ます (-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
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 an alternative spelling of the above terms.
For a list of all kanji read as ます, not just those used in Japanese terms, 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)