How would you politely say that? When you talk to a stranger, and you don't know the word he just said. Say f.e.: 落札 I understand that you could just say 「落札」の意味は何ですか? but is there specifically a polite form of って ?

And to take it further, would there be even a Keigo version of って ?

2 Answers 2


I would say



落札とは、どういう意味でしょうか。(politer, formal)


って in your example is an informal version of と言う (other usages are explained here)

と言う is a general set phrase (something called something) and does not identify the speaker, but you can ask specifically for a word someone said in a polite form replacing 言う with 仰る{おっしゃる}, for example 先ほどおっしゃった◯◯と言う言葉の意味は何ですか。

  • Is 仰る keigo or just teineigo? If Keigo, is it still ok to use です in your example?
    – thz
    Sep 24, 2015 at 12:57
  • 1
    仰る is a sonkeigo form of 言う, but I often hear it even in casual conversations to indicate who's words someone comments on (to differentiate between "as I said" vs "as you said"). Hmmm... ending with「何になりますか」 would be probably be ok in formal situations.
    – macraf
    Sep 24, 2015 at 13:07

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