In the book I'm reading, a boy is looking for a tomato, he says "トマトめトマトめ どこ行ったの". What does "め" mean in this case?


1 Answer 1


め can be a pejorative suffix attached to nouns. It adds a negative meaning or emphasis of insult to that word.

This site shows a couple examples:

馬鹿め! (Bakame!/You idiot!)

Hence you could translate the sentence as: "Stupid tomato, stupid tomato! Where'd you go!". It is also a personification of that tomato, since the boy is addressing his tomato directly.

Some forum users use the word "dishonorific", but it doesn't seem to be a word that is generally accepted, known, or relevant.

As Eiríkr Útlendi pointed out in the comments, the correct term for the process of a neutral word becoming "rude" is called pejoration ("make worse"). The word itself is then called a pejorative. Pejoration is applied to トマト through the attachment of the pejorative suffix め. Another way to call it is "derogatory suffix".

  • 2
    I think “pejorative” is more widely used and understood than “dishonorific”. Aug 17, 2022 at 8:57
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    jisho.org describes 奴/め as "derogatory suffix", which I think would also be a fitting description.
    – Salem
    Aug 17, 2022 at 13:24
  • 2
    I added that possible definition Aug 17, 2022 at 13:31

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