How to Say Congratulations in Japanese?

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Do you know the word omedetou? Would you like to know its real meaning? In this article, we are going to learn some interesting information about the famous Japanese word omedeto (おめでとう) which primarily means congratulations.

Let's also see some curiosities, some synonyms and alternative words that you can use to congratulate someone. The perfect word to say happy birthday, congratulations on your marriage and many other phrases.

What does omedetou mean in Japanese?

The word Omedetou (お目出度う) literally means congratulations on some good occasion such as a birthday, wedding or some promotion. The word is made up of the adjective medetai (目出度い) meaning happy, auspicious, joyful and propitious.

The word is composed of the ideograms eye [目] come out [出] and occurrence [度]. This word is usually accompanied by the famous expression gozaimasu (ございます) which makes the expression a little more formal. 

Ironically the adjective medetai can also mean naive, innocent, foolish, good-natured. There are Japanese sweets that are also called omedeto (御目出糖) and are made from glutinous rice and adzuki beans.

Other weird ways of writing medetai that are no longer used are [芽出度い] and [愛でたい]. Nowadays the word is written more in hiragana when it is an expression of congratulations (omedetou) and sometimes with kanji if it is used as an adjective.

Omedetou - congratulations in Japanese - meaning, curiosities and synonyms

How to use the word Congratulations in Japanese

Below we share some example sentences that can help you understand the use of the word omedetou:

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Happy New Year明けましておめでとうAkemashite omedetou
Happy Birthday誕生日おめでとうtanjoubi omedetou
Congratulations on your engagementご婚約おめでとうございますGo kon'yaku omedetōgozaimasu
I wish you a Merry Christmasクリスマスおめでとうkurisumasu omedetou
Congratulations for the victory優勝おめでとう。Yūshō omedetō
Happy Halloweenハローウィンおめでとう。Harou~in omedetō.

Synonyms and alternatives to omedetou

Before starting I want to briefly quote the verb moushiageru (申し上げる) which means to express, declare or extend and is usually used after some words that we will study below.

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And everyone lived happily ever after目出度し目出度しmedetashimedetashi
Congratulations, Celebration, Festivalお祝い(申し上げる) hiwai (moushiageru)
Congratulations (Kansai Dialect)おめでとうさんomedetousan
express pleasure, happinessお喜び(申し上げる)oyorokobi (moushiageru)
Congratulations, best wishes, long life寿kotobuki
celebration, congratulations祝賀shukuga
From English congratulationコングラチュレーションkongurachurēshon
Congratulations, condolences慶弔keichuu
Express Excitement!やった!yatta!

Phrases using the word omedetou

Below we will see some phrases teaching how to say happy birthday, happy new year and other similar phrases in Japanese.

O-tanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu. Happy Birthday (formal) 
Go-kekkon omedetou gozaimasu. (formal) Congratulations on the wedding! 
優勝おめでとう。 Yuushou omedetou. Congratulations for the victory! 
Akemashite omedetou Happy New Year!
Karera wa senpai ni shoushin omedetou to itta They congratulated the veterans on their promotion. 
kanshasai omedetou Congratulations on the day of thanksgiving
Harou~in omedetou Happy Halloween 
バレンタインデーおめでとう。 Barentaindē omedetō Congratulations on Valentine's Day

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