I know that the title san cannot be used when referring to myself. It seems appropriate to use if it is with a title of some sort. I just wanted to clarify. Thank You!

1 Answer 1


おじ is "uncle", but おじさん is not necessarily "(Mr.) uncle" any more. おじさん usually means "middle-aged guy", and you can refer to someone as おじさん even if he is not your uncle. You can even say 私はもうおじさんだ ("I am no longer young"), referring to yourself, and this さん has no honorific meaning. The same can be said for おばさん ("middle-aged lady").

This process is called lexicalization. In short, おじさん was initially おじ + さん, but this combination became a new word with its own meaning. さん has become an integral part of the new word. This also means dictionaries have a dedicated entry for おじさん (see it in jisho.org, goo辞書).

Note that you can still address your real uncle with おじさん, too. When you talk to your young nephew, you may call yourself おじさん, and this is in the same vein as calling yourself ママ/お父さん/etc when talking to your child. In my case, I don't have a nephew and I haven't met my real uncle for decades, so whenever I say おじさん, it almost certainly means "middle-aged guy".

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