Etymology 1Edit

For pronunciation and definitions of よう – see the following entries.
[noun] use (noun)
[noun] a task, business, an errand
[suffix] for the use of, for the purpose of
[affix] sun, moon and stars
[affix] day of week
[proper noun] A female given name.
[affix] a sheep (animal)
[noun] an ocean
[noun] (by extension, from the sense of across the ocean) the East (Orient) or especially the West (Occident)
[proper noun] a surname
[proper noun] a male or female given name
[noun] leaf, needle, blade (of a plant)
[noun] a season, an age: a shorter period of time within a longer one
[noun] an administration: the period of time during which a certain person holds a certain office
[counter] (rare) counter for flat, thin things such as leaves or paper
[counter] (by extension) counter for small boats
[affix] sun; sunlight; light
[affix] yang (in yin-yang)
[affix] positive; plus; male
[affix] open; overt
[noun] yang (in yin-yang)
[noun] open (visible space)
[noun] way, style, appearance
[adjective] be like, look like, seem like, as if, having the likeness of
[adjective] (as 様に (yō ni)) I hope; I pray; may
[proper noun] a female given name
[noun] [611] key, important point
[noun] [circa 999] essential piece of something, requirement
[affix] to raise; to rear; to bring up
[affix] to support
[affix] to hold; to contain
[affix] to tolerate; to stand
[affix] content; substance
[affix] look; appearance
[noun] childhood, infancy
[noun] a young child
[affix] attractive
[affix] bewitching
[affix] ordinary; commonplace
[affix] to raise; to lift
[affix] to make well-known; to spead
[affix] to shake, swing, tremble, vibrate
[affix] to melt, dissolve, thaw
[affix] hips, loins, lower back
[affix] to dance
[affix] to jump about; to jump up
[affix] to embrace; to protect
[affix] popular song
[affix] far off, distant
[affix] hire; employ
[affix] willow; poplar; aspen
[affix] shine, sparkle, gleam, twinkle
(This term, よう, is an alternative spelling of the above Sino-Japanese terms.
For a list of all kanji read as よう, not just those used in Japanese terms, see Category:Japanese kanji read as よう.)

(The following entries are uncreated: , , , , , , , , , , , .)

Usage notesEdit

Grammaticized () is most likely to be spelled in hiragana.

Etymology 2Edit

For pronunciation and definitions of よう – see the following entry.
[verb] to get drunk, become intoxicated or inebriated, fall under the influence of alcohol
[verb] (figuratively) to become drunk or intoxicated (exhilarated) by something
[verb] to get motion sickness (as in carsick, airsick, seasick, etc.)
[verb] to get addicted
[verb] (archaic) to get poisoned (from eating meat or fish)
[verb] (archaic) to get distracted by charm
(This term, よう, is an alternative spelling of the above term.)

Etymology 3Edit

/mu//ũ//u/ → (for Group II (ichidan) and Group III (irregular) verbs) /joː/

The volitional verb suffix was originally (mu, /mu/). This regularly shifted to a nasalized /ũ/, which then lost its nasalization and was reinterpreted as regular (u, /u/) by roughly the Kamakura period (1185–1333).[1][2][3]

This suffix grammatically attached to the 未然形 (mizenkei, irrealis or incomplete form) of the verb. Regular sound changes then gave rise to the modern よう (, /joː/) ending, initially via fusion of the vowel sounds, and then by a reanalysis of the resulting fused -yō as the suffix to be added to the mizenkei stem. This reformulation as verb stem + suffix -yō started in the late Muromachi period (1336–1573) and continued through the Edo period in 1603–1868).[1][2][3]

  • 上一段活用 (kami ichidan, upper monograde) verbs with mizenkei stems ending in -i:
見む (mimu, /mimu/)見う (miu, /miu/)見う (myō, /mjoː/)見よう (miyō, /mijoː/)
  • 下一段活用 (shimo ichidan, lower monograde) verbs with mizenkei stems ending in -e:
上げむ (agemu, /aɡemu/)上げう (ageu, /aɡeu/)上げう (agyō, /aɡjoː/)上げよう (ageyō, /aɡejoː/)
  • The irregular verb する (suru) underwent further changes. The classical mizenkei stem ended in -e, and (se) in classical Japanese was pronounced more as she. Around the same time that the fused shō was separating again into a verb stem + suffix, the mizenkei stem shifted to end in i:
せむ (shemu, /ɕemu/)せう (sheu, /ɕeu/)せう (shō, /ɕoː/)しよう (shiyō, /ɕijoː/)
  • The irregular verb 来る (kuru) has a mizenkei stem ending in -o. This stem includes no front-vowel sound like /e/ or /i/ that might produce the palatal glide in /joː/, and here, the final -yō arose as a parallel construction with the above verb paradigms:
来む (komu, /komu/)来う (kou, /kou/)来う (, /koː/)来よう (koyō, /kojoː/)

Meanwhile, for regular classical 四段活用 (yodan katsuyō, quadrigrade conjugation) verbs, the mizenkei stem ends in -a. This ultimately fused with the -u suffix form to produce , resulting in the modern regular 五段活用 (godan katsuyō, quintigrade conjugation).

行かむ (ikamu, /ikamu/)行かう (ikau, /ikau/)行かう (ikau, /ikɔː/)行こう (ikō, /ikoː/)



よう (-yō

  1. Used to make the volitional form of verbs.
    1. Expressing one's will to do something.
      Sorosoro ne.
      I go to bed before long.
      Sō shi.
      I will do so.
      Oishii mono o tabe to omotte imasu.
      I'm thinking about eating something delicious.
      Dekake to shita toki, denwa ga kakatte kita.
      I got a phone call when I was about to go out.
    2. Inducing or stimulating other person to do something.
      Sā, hajime.
      Let's get started.
    3. (archaic) Presenting a supposition.
      Synonyms: だろう (darō), でしょう (deshō)
Usage notesEdit

Attaches only to the 未然形 (mizenkei, irrealis or incomplete form) of Group II (ichidan) and Group III (irregular) verbs.

The volitional form of Group I (godan) verbs are formed with (-u) instead of よう (-yō), with further sound changes.

In traditional Japanese grammar, this is a 助動詞 (jodōshi, auxiliary verb), with the sole form よう () as the 終止形 (shūshikei, terminal form) and the 連体形 (rentaikei, adnominal form). Morphologically, this is an uninflecting inflectional suffix attaching to the stem of vowel-stem verbs.

See alsoEdit

Etymology 4Edit



よう (

  1. A very informal greeting similar to yo.
    , genki?
    Yo! Howdy?
  2. A very informal (rude) interjection similar to hey.
    , mateyo.
    Hey, wait.
Usage notesEdit

Women or gentlemen generally use ねえ () instead of よう (). よう () is masculine but gives a rude impression at times; ねえ () is more graceful.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. 2.0 2.1 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN
  3. 3.0 3.1 1995, 大辞泉 (Daijisen) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan, →ISBN