On occasion, I will hear ま being used in a way that seems to suggest the speaker is responding to something indignantly. Something like, "Well! If that's how you're going to act..." Are there any good examples of how intonation can change the perceived meaning of ま (when used in isolation)?

  • Unless you have some example sentences, I think this question cannot be answered (voting to close as "not a real question" because its too ambiguous).
    – Jesse Good
    May 1, 2012 at 2:32
  • I actually have an example. I'm trying to extract the audio clip and post it here.
    – user1316
    May 1, 2012 at 5:15
  • On second thought, this question is probably not the best. I can't think of or find any examples that would change the basic meaning of ま, except as it would be altered by intonation. However, this pretty much applies to any word or phrase, so it should be closed. Sorry!
    – user1316
    May 1, 2012 at 9:24

1 Answer 1


There is no word ま that matches your description. The interjection you hear is probably まあ or まっ. It expresses a surprise rather than indignant tone.


There is also まあ/まっ which is a filler (and sometimes compensates a potentially bad situation), something like the English "well".


  • 1
    I think the situation I was thinking of actually called for "well" as a translation, only the speaker happened to have an indignant tone. Thanks!
    – user1316
    Jun 14, 2012 at 0:27

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