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The Portuguese etymology is not complete. How did the word evolve from the Latin meaning "obliged, made liable, having been bound by obligation." to its current usage to mean "thank you"? When was it first used as "thank you"?

The latter question could settle the controversy over whether there is any relationship between this word and Japanese "arigatō". The Japanese word seems to have been in use before Portuguese traders arrived (see [1] and arigatō), but was the word used as "thank you" by the Portuguese prior to 1542? - 16:10, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

There really was no semantic shift. In modern English, much obliged is still used as a synonym for thank you. There is no controversy about 有り難う; any competent Japanese linguist will be able to tell you that the two are unrelated. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:15, 17 February 2013 (UTC)