The Meaning of Yamete: What It Is and How To Use It

This article will give you all of the information you need on the word yamete, including its definition, usage, origin, and more!

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What does yamete mean?

According to Yabai, the word yamete (やめて) is the Romaji version of the Japanese word meaning “stop.” There are several different variations of the word yamete that are useful in different circumstances. The most polite version of these is “yamete kudasai.” In the Japanese language this is written as やめて ください, and means “please stop it.” People in Japan may use this phrase if they are trying to get a bus or taxi to stop for them.

By adding different suffixes or slightly changing the word itself, yamete can change in intensity. These do not necessarily change the meaning, but the tone. A parent scolding their child may use the phrase “yamete kure.” This is a more intense version of yamete, and has the tone of giving an order. Parents or teachers may use this to settle down children, or others may use it to show that they are being serious and mean business.

“Yamero” is the most emotional form of yamete, even more intense than yamete kure. This word also means stop, but would be used if someone was seeing a crime committed and ordered the perpetrator to stop immediately. 

On the other hand, the phrase “yamete yo” takes us to the other end of the spectrum. Yamete yo is less emotional and intense, and is used to tell someone to stop when one is not angry or disappointed. It may be used for mild annoyances.

What is the origin of the word yamete?

Yamete is the “te form” of the verb yameru (止める), according to Japanese Verb Conjugator. Fluent in Three Months states that the “te form” conjugation is similar to the English present progressive. The verb yameru means to stop, give up, or resign. Yamete (止めて) is used as a command. Similarly, yamero (止めろ) is the imperative form of the verb yameru. Both of these words have the common root verb yameru. 

Where is yamete seen in popular culture?

Yamete and yamero have both become memes frequently seen in popular culture. According to Know Your Meme, these words are often said by characters in anime films or television shows when they are frustrated. Online, people often caption images of raging anime characters with glowing eyes with the words yamete or yamero.

The first known usage of this meme is from July 2015, where a photo of the character Lelouch Lamperouge from Code Geass was captioned with yamero on an anime and manga message board. The meme began to spread in October of 2016 and has continued its spread on websites like Tumblr, Twitter, Reddit, and other social media sites.

How can yamete be used in a sentence?

Since yamete has a variety of forms, there are a plethora of ways it can be used. Below are example sentences for ways in which one can use all of the different forms of yamete, including yamete kudasai, yamete yo, yamete kure, and yamero.

Nora and Linny are working in their home office. Linny has finished her work for the day and is bored, but Nora is still typing away at her desk. Linny begins to throw small pieces of paper at Nora.

Linny: Whatcha doin?

Nora: Working.

Linny: Boring.

Linny throws another piece of paper at Nora. She gets no reaction. She throws another 

Nora: Yamete!

Here, Nora uses the base form of the word yamete. She is annoyed, but she is not angry or disappointed. Thus, the “stop it” form of the word is appropriate. 

Next, Rebecca is visiting a city in which taxi cabs are common she has been trying to hail one for nearly thirty minutes with no luck. Finally, she marches out in front of one and raises her arm in the air.

Rebecca: Yamete kudasai! 

Here, Rebecca is desperate for the taxi to stop and pick her up. She uses the “please stop” version of yamete to try and get the cab to pick her up.

Next, Milo and his children are out to dinner with Milo’s coworkers. His children, Nate and Robbie, are being disruptive and will not stop. Milo leans in closely to both of them and whispers to them.

Milo: Yamete kure. I mean it.

Nate and Robbie know their dad means business and stop their antics. Next, Sam and Jon are in the kitchen. Jon is preparing dinner for the two of them, but Sam is clinging to Jon.

Jon: Sam, I love you, but you have to get off of me while I’m trying to cook.

Sam: No, I can’t. I like you too much.

Jon: Sam, please! You’re going to get hurt by the hot oil.

Jon pulls himself out of Sam’s hug. Sam grabs back on.

Jon: Sam, yamete yo.

Here, Jon uses yamete yo because he is not all that bothered by Sam’s hugs. He is mildly annoyed, but would not use a more intense form of the verb because it would be considered an overreaction.

Finally, Willow is walking home from work and decides to cut through an alley for a quicker way there. In the alley, she sees a woman struggling to get her purse away from a robber. Willow is shocked.

Willow: Yamero! Stop, thief! I’m calling 911!

The thief runs away.

Woman: Thank you so much.

Here, Willow uses the word yamero with great urgency to stop the thief and save the woman.

Overall, yamete is a Japanese word that means stop. It has many forms that change the intensity of politeness of the verb, including yamete yo, yamete kudasai, yamete kura, and yamero. The phrase has become a meme in American culture, particularly among anime fans who use images of anime characters saying yamete or yamero as reaction images.