さん

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Japanese[edit]

Noun[edit]

さん ‎(romaji san)

  1. , : three; 3
  2. : acid
  3. : legend; caption
  4. : eating and drinking

Etymology[edit]

Derived from ‎(さま, sama).

Suffix[edit]

さん ‎(romaji -san)

  1. A title used after person's name (first name or surname) regardless of sex; Mr, Ms, Mrs, Miss. Also used after a job title and a company name.
    • 山田さん - Mr/Ms Yamada. Sex is indistinguishable.
    • あきらさん - Also available for first name.
    • 山田あきらさん - Mr/Ms Akira Yamada.
    • 店員さん - Sir/Madam (literally Mr/Ms shop clerk), when talking to a shop clerk.
    • 運転手さん - Sir/Madam (literally Mr/Ms driver), when talking to a taxi/bus driver.
    • ソニーさん - Sony, used in business by people meeting Sony.
  2. (colloquial) Used after a shop name.
    • 学校の前に床屋さんがある。
      Gakkō no mae ni tokoya-san ga aru.
      In front of school, there’s a barber’s.

Usage notes[edit]

‎(さま, sama) is used in more formal situation, like sir.

More familiar, one uses ‎(くん, kun), especially of men, or ちゃん ‎(chan), especially of young women and children.

Referring to someone without using a suffix is quite rude, and is called 呼び捨て ‎(よびすて, yobisute).

When used after a job name which refers to either the shop or the master depending on the context , it does not restrict animacy. For example, when using 床屋 (the barber shop or the hairdresser), both 床屋さんが一ある (inanimate ある) and 床屋さん一人いる (animate いる) are correct.

See also[edit]

Suffix[edit]

さん ‎(romaji -san)

  1. : Mount, Mt.

Okinawan[edit]

Noun[edit]

さん ‎(san)

  1. mountain