What does Doumo [どうも] really mean?

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ever heard of the word doumo [どうも]? In this article, we will try to understand the full meaning behind this word. Remembering that we will use both romanizations in that article, doumo and dome.

Whenever we hear this word being said in different situations and with different meanings, it ends up leaving us confused. So what does it really mean doumo or dome? What occasions and how to use?

Meaning of the word doum

According to the basic dictionary, the word domo [どうも] means thank you, but how is the arigatou? In reality that word has nothing to do with thanks.

The word doumo [どうも] is the junction of the word I give [どう] and the particle mo [も] Where I give can pass the meaning of "as?" it's the mo the meaning of "never, even, so much and also".

The word doumo [どうも] is assembled in the same way as the word totemo [とても] that means much. In fact, both can have the same meaning.

The original meaning of the word doumo [どうも] can be literally translated into Portuguese as:

  • no matter how;
  • anyway;
  • in all cases;
  • I understand that;
  • for some reason;
  • I do not know why;

Thus, doumo is an adverb to indicate that one cannot make a definitive statement about something, due to lack of concrete evidence.

Many Japanese words have a meaning but their usage goes far beyond having nothing to do with the original meaning. This happens with doumo that is usually used to thank, greet and say goodbye.

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Situations in which Doumo is used

どうも is used before arigatou to give the meaning of "thank you so much“, it is used on formal occasions, and often expresses humility and words like “I am very sorry”.

Currently the doumo is usually used on non-formal occasions without the arigatou to thank some friends and acquaintances. Other common occasions you can use the doumo as a thank you is when you are in a store and someone opens or holds the door for you, you can say thank you by saying dome.

The doumo alone is usually used when people do simple favors for you without needing or asking, it's like you're thanking and at the same time saying, I'm sorry for the inconvenience. 

The same thing happens if you need to leave in the middle of a conversation quickly. You've just bumped into a friend, they exchange an idea but you're in a hurry you can say doumo, you are expressing: Excuse me? I have to go… (no thinking about using this instead of saying goodbye on formal occasions).

train body language

When you bump into someone you can use doumo to apologize and thank you. When entering a store and the person says welcome or greets you, you can say doumo. Simplifying on several occasions the doumo it can be thanks, apologies and greetings.

The most common usage is in the phrase doumo arigatou gozaimasu [どうも有難うございます], the most formal way to say thank you.

How is dōmo used in texts and conversations?

Doumo is also an adverb and needs to be used in other situations, phrases and expressions within conversations, let's see some examples of use below:

  • この文の意味がどうもよく分からない。
  • Kono bun no imi ga dome yokuwakaranai;
  • I don't know why, but I can't understand this sentence very well;

The above sentence shows that he cannot make a definitive statement about something.

  • このごろどうも体の調子がよくないんです。
  • kono goro dome karada no choushi ga yokunain desu;
  • I don't know why, but lately I haven't been feeling well;

In this sentence the final predicate is overtly negative. Note that this phrase literally used the body (体) to talk about his health condition.

  • どうも理解できない。
  • Dōmo rikaidekinai;
  • I just can't understand it;
  • No matter how, I can't understand
  • Somehow I don't understand;

In this sentence we observe the different translations of the expression in Japanese.

  • あの商人はどうもしつこいよね。
  • shonin wa year dome shitsukoi yo ne;
  • This trader is quite persistent, isn't he;
  • I think the trader is very irritating;

Now the dōmo was used to express a lot and a lot.

The above examples may end up being written in another way using other terms and expressions instead of the doumo. So it may be unusual to use or find doumo in sentences, but he is there and doing justice to his meaning. There are just several ways to say something in Japanese.

With this article we come to the conclusion that the doumo [どうも] can be used as greetings, thanks, apologies, adverbs and negatives. I hope you enjoyed it and enjoyed it, thanks for the comments and shares.

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