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Denshi Jisho seems to imply that ご[機嫌]{きげん}よう is for really formal situations. I've only heard it spoken by older women, so I was just curious what the appropriate usage for this word is. Would it be awkward for it to appear in everyday speech?

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Would it be awkward for it to appear in everyday speech?

It depends what you mean by everyday speech. There is a concept in Japanese, known as 品位. Which is translated as dignity on Wikipedia, and basically is the ideas of having good character, respect for others, sense of good moral values, etc. Some people feel that using ご機嫌よう exemplifies those characteristics, and as such at some schools in Japan, it is mandatory to use the word. This is especially true at private schools for women only, where good manners and politeness are emphasized. Also, members of the imperial family (皇族) in Japan would probably use it because of this.

However, after saying this, I should mention it is primarily used by women (especially older) (this is my own personal opinion btw), and some people may find it haughty or snobbish. However, this varies greatly depending on the person, so you may find that people around you using it and it is not a problem. According to this site, most of the people answered that they do not use it in everyday conversation.

Side note:

Did you know that the word can be used for both greeting and parting with someone?

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  • Yes, I had observed (in anime, for all that's worth) that individuals would use it in both contexts, which is interesting to me. – user1316 Apr 27 '12 at 1:30

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