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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    – user1016
    May 18, 2013 at 12:14
  • Related: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/54045/…
    – ヤコブ
    Jul 20, 2019 at 10:07

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.

  • 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, 2012 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, 2012 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, 2012 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, 2012 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, 2012 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.

  • 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, 2012 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, 2012 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, 2013 at 13:02

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



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.

  • 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, 2012 at 4:18
  • I guess that technically it could be, but I bet people would say お疲れ instead since it is clearer and quite short. Now that I think about it, I don't think that おっす would be お疲れ様です. Hope it helps.
    – b_d_m_p
    Jun 1, 2016 at 7:08

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.

  • 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, 2013 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.


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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    Well, no offence, but your experience and intuition is incorrect, although some Judo may be involved. Please improve your answer, or simply delete it altogether.
    – Mr Pie
    Jul 18, 2018 at 6:28

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