|Kanji in this term|
|Grade: 2||Grade: 2|
Probably originally from Middle Chinese 公家. Compare modern Mandarin 公家 (gōngjiā, “the state, the public”). The meaning in Japanese developed from “great house, great family” to then signify “the imperial family”, then by extension the courtiers, and again the nobility. The reading is an alteration from the expected go'on reading of kuke.
The kan'on reading, suggesting a later borrowing. Rarely used.