The Alternative Japanese Dictionary: さん

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Entry definition

さん 〈san〉 {{rfc}}
kanji reading: さん (san)
on-reading of::
  • : three
  • : mountain
  • : give birth
  • : three, participate, visit
  • : calculation, arithmetic
  • : scatter
  • : approval
  • : acid; oxide
  • : disaster
  • : umbrella; parachute
  • : framework
  • : silkworm
kun-reading of::
  • : Mr, Ms
nanori-reading of::
  • : cold
noun: {{ja-noun}}
  1. , : three; 3
  2. サン: sun
  3. : acid
  4. : legend; caption
etymology Derived from 〈yàng〉.
suffix: {{ja-pos}}
  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.
〈yàng〉 is used in more formal situation, like sir. More familiar, one uses 〈jūn〉, 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 〈hūbi shěte〉. 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.
suffix: {{ja-pos}}
  1. {{ja-def}} Mount, Mt.

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