What Does Matte Mean in Japanese?

Woman is late for a train and trying to catch it

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Wait is a word we often yell to catch someone who might be leaving a room or building, or if we are running to catch a bus or train.

The way you say "wait" in Japanese is Matte.

The more formal form of the word is "Chotto matte kudasai."

Chotto means "a small amount/degree," and kudasai means "please."

This phrase can be used in many different ways where it's appropriate to say "wait a moment." For example, a shop keeper speaking to a customer in a more relaxed tone.
A much more formal way to say "wait a moment" is Shou-shou o-machi kudasai.

Pronunciation of Matte:

Listen to the audio file for "Matte."

Japanese Characters for Matte


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"Japanese (language): What does 'chotto matte' mean and how is it used?" Quora, September 2015.

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Abe, Namiko. "What Does Matte Mean in Japanese?" ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/matte-simple-japanese-phrases-2028395. Abe, Namiko. (2023, April 5). What Does Matte Mean in Japanese? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/matte-simple-japanese-phrases-2028395 Abe, Namiko. "What Does Matte Mean in Japanese?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/matte-simple-japanese-phrases-2028395 (accessed June 2, 2023).