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Going hiking here in Japan, you can hardly pass anyone without either saying お疲れさまです, おはようございます (I go hiking in the morning) or こんにちは.

Some people (young males in particular) greet you with either チュワッ or オッス. A great idea, since everybody's out of breath. I gather that チュワッ is a contraction of こんにちは, but オッス could be either お疲れさまです or おはようございます. Does the person greeting you with オッス actually have one of the two possible greetings in mind, or is it just used more like a universal sound, which can be used in any situation?

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Could it be おっす instead? –  Flaw Sep 8 '12 at 8:49
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Sure, why not... And what does that mean (exactly)? –  Earthliŋ Sep 8 '12 at 9:00
    
「チュワッ」って、「ちわ!」のことでしょうか?ウルトラマンかと思った・・・www(デュワッ?ジュワッ?) –  Choko May 18 '13 at 12:14

7 Answers 7

It might have been おっす instead. According to gogen, it's おはようございます that has undergone shortening to form おっす.

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I don't think it can be anything but おはようございます. I've of heard and use チュワッ around but おっす is normally among men when get in to the office. –  Tim Sep 8 '12 at 9:15
    
おっす is between (mostly) young men and pretty much anywhere. I've heard and used it when getting to uni in the morning (including sometimes from females). It's basically a casual greeting and would sound appropriate for the situation described above. –  Dave Sep 8 '12 at 9:38
    
So, do we agree that it means only おはようございます or could it also be used in other situations, where おはようございます would not be appropriate? –  Earthliŋ Sep 8 '12 at 10:20
    
@user1205935 I'd say it means exclusively おはようございます and could be used in same situations (albeit with different relationship/age implications). Keeping in mind that there are many cases where おはよう[ございます] can be used other than in the morning (I think there might even be a question about that somewhere). –  Dave Sep 8 '12 at 11:25
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@user1205935 Thought I remembered something (might have been an oblique comment on another question). Best is to simply ask it officially if you want more details. The short of it is that there are a whole bunch of cases where おはよう[ございます] is used as a standard greeting, regardless of time of day. –  Dave Sep 8 '12 at 14:28

I've often heard "おっす" as a shorter version of "おつかれさまです". That'd be a greeting you'd say after someone had a tough day, a long ride, or almost anything.

It can also be used is a very derogative sentence "人生おっす!" (jinsei, oss(u)!" which I reckon is something like "thank you for living until today, you now useless piece of (…)"

Notice that in both cases, I think that it is extremely informal, if not vulgar.

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Hmm, now we have おっす either as お疲れさまです or as おはようございます... –  Earthliŋ Sep 10 '12 at 3:11
    
In the example you give (人生おっす!), it's definitely not おはようございます. I'm starting to think that おっす is just a short form for anything that starts with お and ends with す... –  Earthliŋ Sep 10 '12 at 11:31
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The normal abbreviation for お疲れ様です is abbreviated to おつ (乙) or おっつ. This is likely what you are hearing as おっす. –  Dono Feb 13 '13 at 13:02

It is おはようございます. When I was in university, students would often say it to me and I had to ask what it meant.

They would also say ちっす for こんにちは and わっす for こんばんは, but I think those are more slangy.

A similar one I often heard was あざっす for ありがとうございます.

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Thanks. Flaw's answer already suggested that おっす means おはようございます and Dave's comments state that in only means おはようございます. Axioplase's answer suggests that it could also mean お疲れ様です. I'm now looking for evidence that おっす does not mean お疲れ様です... Do you have any opinion on that? –  Earthliŋ Sep 14 '12 at 4:18

There are a number of ideas for the origin of おっす. I first learned this term as rough greeting used by men to each other in Karate school, and had thought it quite manly till I heard a cute girl say おいっす in a joking fashion. Besides the contraction of おはようございます as stated in the other answers, there is a more martial origin listed as well:

Osu is a contraction of the words:

押し Oshi meaning "Push"

忍ぶ Shinobu meaning "to Endure"

It means patience, determination and perseverance. Every time we say "Osu", we remind ourselves of this.

My own two cents: I have seen guys say this to each other as a greeting in bars at night, where I would not hear おはようございます.

Here is a link to two in-depth discussions: http://tkdtutor.com/TOPICS/Concepts/Concepts/Osu/Osu-01.htm

http://uskyokushin.com/osu.htm

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My personal opinion on this (not backed up by any evidence) is that many of the greetings end in す and I find that even when most people tend to say the whole greeting you only tend to hear the last す syllable as people tend to start quiet and get louder. My guess was that this written approximation, おっす, came from there.

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Actually, I had っす in my original question. But it seems that the sound, which I hear as っす, should be written おっす... –  Earthliŋ Mar 13 '13 at 0:59

According to my dictionary (ウィズダム英和・和英辞典) 「おっす」 means

Howdy!; Hey (there)!; Hi!; ↗Morning! (!いずれも通例, 後に相手の名前をつける. 後になるほど「おっす」から「やあ」「おはよ」ぐらいの意になる)

Unfortunately, it does not give any etymological explanation, though.

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From what I've learned, it comes from Judo. From experience, it is an extremely informal greeting used ONLY by males that is more of a joke than anything else. Similar to "Yo!" or "Yo, man!"

Oh!sssss.... oo!sssss.....

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