Whenever I leave my office building for lunch a guard in charge greets me (everyone) with a:


Edit: This is a recording of what I heard. Based on comments I received under this question and what I set my ears to hear, I do hear either いらっしゃいませ or いってらっしゃいませ when playing back.

Original question:

I am used to hearing the phrase いらっしゃいませ for "welcome" (explained to come from 居る "be" or or 来る "come"), but in this case I am leaving, it's not my destination and I won't spend more than a second hanging around the guard.

Why isn't it odd? If it's indeed いらっしゃいませ what image should I create in my mind when told so? Me coming to the guard's place, me leaving the building, me being, me leaving and coming back?

  • 6
    – naruto
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 4:02
  • 2
    In this case you're leaving your office building for lunch so 「お疲れ様でした。いらっしゃいませ」wouldn't sound natural. You wouldn't say いらっしゃいませ to someone leaving. 私も「お疲れ様でした。行ってらっしゃいませ。」と言っているのだと思います
    – chocolate
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 7:51
  • 2
    In the evening >> so it's when you're going home, right? They wouldn't say いってらっしゃいませ when they don't think you're coming back that day...
    – chocolate
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 7:58
  • 2
    @macraf I know, a guard never says いっ-て-らっ-しゃ-い-ま-せ at all :-) It may sound to you as something like いゃーしゃっせー, いやしゃーぃ, うやしゃー, てしゃーす, てやっせーぃ. But that's 行ってらっしゃい spoken super quickly. Even native speakers' ears can't "hear", but we just "know".
    – naruto
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 8:31
  • 2
    "Choco is admitting いらっしゃいませ might be used for someone leaving for a lunch" >> No no... I wrote "You wouldn't say いらっしゃいませ to someone leaving"
    – chocolate
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 12:33

1 Answer 1


いらっしゃいませ is one of those words that can mean its own opposite -- at least, from an English speaker's perspective. It's the imperative or command form of a super-polite 敬語【けいご】 word that can mean: to go, to come, or simply to be.

That said, given it's etymological origins in the word 入る【いる】, and the way the term is often used by shopkeepers to mean come on in, your guess at come back [into the building] is probably right.


There's some interesting commentary by native speakers under the question post, pointing to a greater likelihood that the いらっしゃいませ heard by the asker is instead a slurred or informally contracted 行ってらっしゃいませ. This would seem to better fit the stated situations in which the asker has heard the phrase.

  • 1
    Are you sure you mean "警護 word", not "敬語 word"?
    – chocolate
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 9:02
  • Derp! 変換ミス。修正します。 Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 9:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .