What does Doumo [どうも] really mean?


Open enrollment for Ricardo Cruz Nihongo Premium's Japanese course! Click make your registration!

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

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

Meaning of the word doumo

According to the basic dictionary, the word dōmo [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 convey the sense of “like?" 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 very. In reality, 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;

Therefore, Doumo it is an adverb to indicate that you cannot make a definitive statement about something, due to the lack of hard evidence.

Many Japanese words have a meaning but their use goes far beyond having any relation to the original meaning. This happens with doumo, which is usually used to thank, greet and say goodbye.

Situations in which Doumo is used

どうも is used before arigatou to give the sense of “thank you so much“, It is used on formal occasions, and usually expresses humility and words like“ enough, I'm sorry ”.

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

O doumo alone it is usually used when people do simple favors to you without needing or asking, it is as if you are thanking and at the same time saying, I'm sorry for the inconvenience. 

The same thing happens if you need to get out of the conversation quickly. You 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 of using this instead of saying goodbye on formal occasions).

Linguagem corporal trem

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

The most common use is in the sentence 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, we will 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 dōmo yokuwakaranai;
  • I don't know why, but I can't quite understand this phrase;

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 dōmo karada no choushi ga yokunain desu;
  • I don't know why, but lately I don't feel well;

In this sentence the final predicate is openly negative. It is noted that this phrase literally used the body (体) to talk about its health condition.

  • どうも理解できない。
  • Dōmo rikaidekinai;
  • I just cannot understand this;
  • No matter how, I can't understand
  • I somehow 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。
  • Ano shōnin wa dōmo shitsukoi yo ne;
  • This merchant is quite persistent, isn't he;
  • I think the merchant is very annoying;

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

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

With this article we came to the conclusion that the doumo [どうも] can be used as greetings, thanks, excuses, adverb and negative. I hope you enjoyed it and took advantage of it, thanks for the comments and shares.