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About ご[馳走]{ちそう}: two “runs” would give you “a feast”?

ごちそうさまでした gochisousamadeshita 【ご馳走様でした · 御馳走様でした】

expression: That was a delicious meal (said after meals);  What a wonderful meal

(lit. You were a Feast (preparer))

Is the literal translation here accurate, and is there a longer phrase that preceded this contemporary one?

  • the other question is specifically about the word; i asked about the phrase; the answers to the other question were short on info and do not answer my question; the answer below gives a better explanation than is provided in the previous question.
    – yadokari
    Nov 29, 2012 at 18:17
  • The previous question should then be edited to include a slightly broader scope and I would suggest that @user1205935 move his answer there.
    – rintaun
    Nov 29, 2012 at 20:50
  • so would it have been better to drastically edit the previous question in hopes of getting a better answer? does "closing" a question mean that i should not have asked it, or just that people think that it is superfluous? Just interested- what is gained from closing this question? Does it make the site more navigable?
    – yadokari
    Nov 29, 2012 at 21:18
  • If a question is closed as off topic, too localised, not a real question, or not constructive, that would mean that is unsuitable to be asked. Closing a question as a duplicate means that the question is suitable, but you were unable to find the duplicate through your thorough searching of the site. It is not necessarily superfluous, either, as it can serve as a signpost to the other question, for people who think as you do. Were it truly superfluous a mod would merge it into the duplicate.
    – Matt Ellen
    Nov 29, 2012 at 21:21
  • @MattEllen, what happens when a question is closed like this? does it close it from further answers?
    – yadokari
    Nov 29, 2012 at 22:50

1 Answer 1


The 語源由来辞典 says, the term 馳走 "feast" has its origin in the fact that in order to prepare a feast, the host would have to dispatch horses in order to get all the ingredients.

As for the literal translation, I would say that 様 is not a suffix for a person (like さん, etc.), but closer to the meaning of 様子. (Same for お陰様, ご苦労様, お待ち遠様.) So that the phrase translates, also literally, to

It was a feast.

The phrase ご馳走様 dates back only to the latter half of the Edo period. Before that, the phrase 馳走になった was used in the sense of お手数をかけました "Sorry for the inconvenience/Thank you for your troubles".

  • 1
    thank you. are there other instances where this kind of 様 is used to mean 様子?
    – yadokari
    Nov 29, 2012 at 21:19
  • 1
    "are there other instances where this kind of 様 is used to mean 様子?": That would almost make another question/subject but I think you have fairly good answer already with examples given: ie ご苦労様, お待ち遠様.
    – Tim
    Nov 29, 2012 at 22:20
  • @yadokari What can I say. [様]{さま} in this case is quite close to [様]{よう}, as in このようになりました and is not a suffix for a person. Other instances are already contained in my answer. お疲れ様, お粗末様, お世話様, お草々様 are further examples.
    – Earthliŋ
    Nov 29, 2012 at 22:49
  • 私・・・「お草々様」って知らないです・・・どうしよう!ww ググったけどよく分かりません。「ごちそうさま」の返事ですか?
    – user1016
    Nov 30, 2012 at 11:30

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