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Etymology 1Edit

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), 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).[1][2]



  • IPA(key): [ma̠sɨ̥ᵝ]
  • The pitch accent depends on the suffixed verb.

Alternative formsEdit


ます (rōmaji -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 連用形 (ren'yōkei, continuative or stem form) 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 (masuru) 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).

See alsoEdit

Etymology 2Edit

The reading of various kanji.

Pronunciation 1Edit


ます (rōmaji masu)

  1. : trout
  2. , , , : a traditional Japanese cup (unit of measurement)

ます (rōmaji masu)

  1. 増す, 益す: to increase in amount or degree

Pronunciation 2Edit


ます (rōmaji masu)

  1. : trout
  2. , , , : a traditional Japanese cup (unit of measurement)
  3. : (architecture) the capital of a wooden pillar


  1. ^ 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