The meaning of domo (どうも) and how to use it

This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the Japanese word domo, including its various Japanese definitions and translations, example sentences, and more!

What does domo mean?

In most cases, domo means very or very much in Japanese. However, it’s a versatile word that can also mean thanks, seemingly, or even serve as a greeting!

Below, we look at the different meanings of domo with the help of some examples.

To make it easier for you, I have written each sentence in full Japanese kanji in the first line, followed by roman letters (romaji), and hiragana, with the English meaning coming last.

Domo usually means very or very much in Japanese, but has a number of other meanings.

Domo meaning 1: Very

Literally, domo can often be translated as very. People tend to use it when expressing gratitude or making apologies.

Domo arigatou gozaimasu.
Thank you very much.

Goshinsetu ni domo.
That’s very kind of you.

Domo goteinei ni, kyoushuku desu.
Thank you. That was very thoughtful of you.

Aa, domo sumimasen!
Oh, sorry!

Domo meaning 2: A greeting

Another common usage of domo is to greet people in a friendly way. You would therefore use this in relaxed settings rather than formal ones.

Domo, minna.
Hi everyone.

Domo konnichiwa.
Hello there!

Domo meaning 3: Thanks

You can also use domo to casually say thanks (a bit like the British cheers). It’s somewhat laid back, so you should stick to using this around close friends. Definitely not one to use when talking to your boss!

For whatever reason, Japanese men seem to use domo this way more often than women. I think it might be simply because women are generally more polite (!).

Domo domo!


Domo meaning 4: Seemingly

Ano hanashi wa domo honto rashii yo!
It seems that the story was true!

Asatte wa domo ame rashii.
It’s seemingly going to rain on the day after tomorrow.

Domo usually means very or very much in Japanese, but has a number of other meanings.

A note on how to pronounce domo

I have written どうも as “domo” in this article because it seemed most people were searching for that spelling, but “doumo” would actually have been more accurate. In terms of how to pronounce it, the “o” sound is drawn out, like in doughnut, to reflect the (う).

Keep calm and carry on learning

Well there you have it. I hope this article has helped you understand this useful and versatile word. There’s no need to try to remember each instance for now. Instead, observing the language and how domo is employed by native speakers should help you naturally master it over time.