The Usage of ‘Osu’

(Not completely sure how it is spelled, by the way… Osu? Ossu? Oss? :eyes:)

I have heard this word a lot now in anime. From the context, I kind of guessed that it can be used to mean many things, including (but not limited to) ‘Ok’, ‘Come on!’, ‘Let’s do it!’, ‘Come at me!’, ‘Thanks!’, ‘Yes’, etc etc…

Googling it mainly gave articles concerning martial arts.

I know I should take the way characters speak in anime with a pinch of salt, but I am very curious:

  • Is ‘osu’ actually used in Japanese in real life nowadays (outside the martial arts environment)? Can everyone use it? Some people said that you should never use it for older/higher ranked people, or if you’re a girl… Is that true?

As always, I appreciate if anyone knows anything :hugs:


I don’t really have anything other than that to add since I don’t live in Japan and can’t say how common it is :sweat_smile:


Thank you :pray:t2:
So in there it says that it’s mainly a male term… Hmmm :thinking: I wonder if it would be received badly or strangely if a girl used it?
I’ve been hearing the word so much I keep saying ‘osu’ everytime something good happens without even realising :joy:

It’s just so interesting how it has such a seemingly wide scope of usage :thinking:

It feels like this one word could be used to start, carry on, and finish whole sentences all by its own self :eyes::joy:


The warnings about using it with older/higher ranking people is mostly because it’s sorta equivalent to saying “yo wassup” to your boss or whatever, it’s just kinda inappropriate in certain contexts. Even in anime I feel like it’s a somewhat niche word, I think using it with close friends your own age is probably fine though.

Kinda like with clothing, it’s a lot less weird for women to use male speech than vice versa, though with Japanese it does come off as like “rough” or tomboyish.

It might help to expand your vocab a bit so you can learn some other things to say in different situations. :slightly_smiling_face:


Thank you!!

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My students (SHS) in Japan use this a lot (mostly the baseball boys). They do use it to greet teachers too sometimes, so I think it depends on context. You wouldn’t say it to your boss, but in certain school situations, it’s apparently acceptable towards teachers.


Thank you as well for the input!

It’s fascinating to read all the different contexts :grin:

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It’s also a bit of an old-fashioned “yessir” sort of word, often still used by juniors to respond to seniors’ orders in old-fashioned sports clubs at school. Like ouendan. Or judo/kendo and such.


So did the word evolve to be used sort of ironically by youths as slang?

Pretty much sums it up. In English think of it like the difference between greeting/acknowledging someone with “Good afternoon” vs. “Hey”.

Personally, I do not use it. Have tried a few times, but just feels off to me for some reason. After a number of years living here quite a few of my friends do use it with me regularly.

I do not believe I have heard it used by women.

I cannot really comment on usage by kids/teens as I am way beyond that age group and my interactions with them is limited to the children of my friends and co-workers who are always ultra-polite with their parents around :smiley:


It’s the kiddie version of お疲れ :wink:

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Weblio says:

[補説] 「押忍」とも当てて書く。

I’ve also have this notion that some of the usage comes from saying お疲れ様です or おはようございます reeeally fast, so all it becomes is おっす :smiley:. But I can’t remember how accurate that was. Personally we used it to greet between some (mostly male) friends.


I think お疲れ様 usually abbreviates to おつ


That’s what I was taught. The other posts here seem to make more sense.

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