仕える

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Japanese[edit]

Kanji in this term
Grade: 3

Etymology[edit]

From Old Japanese root verb つく (tsuku, to stick at/into/onto/to) → by extension, "to obey a person, to take a job, to serve a purpose".

Incomplete stem つか (tsuka) + auxiliary verb (fu, repetition, ongoing state) (becoming verb ending (u) in modern Japanese) → つかう (tsukau, to use).

Conjugation into potential form → つかえる (tsukaeru, to be capable of being used; to be useful).

Verb[edit]

仕える (intransitive, ichidan conjugation, hiragana つかえる, historical hiragana つかへる, romaji tsukaeru)

  1. to serve, serve under, take service under
  2. to enter public service

Usage notes[edit]

Unlike the English verb serve, which can take the object of service as a grammatical object, 仕える is always intransitive, and takes the particle (ni) to specify the person, goal, etc. being served. From the etymology and grammar, a more idiomatic translation into English might be "to be useful to someone", where the bold "to" corresponds to the particle in the Japanese. Note that this grammatical correspondence may disappear in a more idiomatic translation.

Examples:

最も高い目的仕える
もっともたかいもくてきつかえる
motto mo takai mokuteki ni tsukaeru
to be useful to the highest purpose → to serve the highest purpose
この数年間、父母仕えている。
このすうねんかん、ちちははつかえている。
Kono sūnenkan, chichihaha ni tsukaete iru.
I have been being useful to my parents for several years now. → I have been taking care of my parents for several years now.

Conjugation[edit]

Phrases[edit]

  • 神に仕える: serve God
  • 主人に仕える: serve a master, serve an employer faithfully
  • 二君に仕える (nikun ni tsukaeru): serve two masters

Idioms[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]