Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What's the difference between 降参する and 諦める?

Both seems to have the meaning of "to give up", for example:

What's the difference in their nuances / meaning?

share|improve this question
降参 sounds like a rather formal word... one that sounds incongruous next to ぜったい. – Zhen Lin Feb 24 '13 at 7:47
Here is a tip; if a verb written by 2 kanjis it's a formal form. – Birkan Aras Feb 24 '13 at 8:05
@BirkanAras Are these all formal, then? 片付く・怒鳴る・躊躇う・藻掻く・芽生える・勉強する – snailplane Feb 24 '13 at 11:36
I was bothered for a long time by the difference between 降参 and 降伏 – ssb Feb 24 '13 at 12:41
@ZhenLin: Would it sound/look incongruous next to 絶対? – jkerian Feb 25 '13 at 19:31
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I think the difference between 降参する and 諦める is the difference between "to surrender" and "to give up".

Giving up is more an emotional state of not having any hope left. Surrendering means that you "put down your arms", officially, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have given up hope.

In that sense, 降参する makes more sense in a formal context of two parties against one another, whereas 諦める can be used in all sorts of situations. E.g.

I've given up trying to get rich.

You have no way out! Surrender! (from SpaceALC)

One does not imply the other. You can surrender as a strategic move, without having given up. You can have given up (hope for life), and choose not to surrender until you die.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.