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In episode 25 of Attack of the Titan anime, the protagonist said

駆逐してやる…いや、殺す (yelling very loudly)

Now, "exterminate" seems to be a pretty common translation of 駆逐, for example


Despite that, 大辞泉・大辞林 defines them along the lines of

敵などを追い払うこと

i.e. "to drive (enemy etc.) away; to get rid of"

研究社 新和英中辞典 also uses words like

drive away [out]; oust; expel; get rid of

for 駆逐(する), but never "exterminate".


So, I wonder if it's correct to say that 駆逐 means "to exterminate" or "to destroy", or if such a meaning is only inferred indirectly from the context. An example in English is "to get rid". Usually we won't think of "get rid" as killing, at least not specifically, right? Or rather, killing is but one of the many ways of getting rid of something. But say

That guy's asking too much questions. Get rid of him.

and you would associate "get rid = kill".

Is this the same case with 駆逐?


Seems like 駆逐 is used very often in military context. For what it's worth, here are some in non-military context I've come across

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In my own words, extermination = intensive type of 駆逐, not plain 駆逐. –  非回答者 Aug 7 at 14:43

1 Answer 1

I think 「駆逐する」 is stronger than get rid, but not as strong as exterminate.

Literally speaking, 駆 means to drive, and 逐 means to chase. As 大辞泉 says, there is no meaning of killing or destroying explicitly included in this word.

However, 駆逐 is almost always used in a military context, and usually implies killing or destroying, as the simplest measure to keep enemies away.

And I feel every last one or all is also implied in 駆逐 (getting rid of every last enemy). In this sense, extermination is not too far. That said, killing is not necessarily required.

駆逐してやる…いや、殺す

In this sentence, I think the speaker is already not hesitating to kill the enemies by saying 駆逐してやる. And with 殺す, the speaker explicitly denies the enemies' chance of survival.

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You are definitely right about 駆逐's usage in military context. I had to use "駆逐" -"駆逐艦" -"駆逐してやる" -"駆逐戦車" -"駆逐隊" -"駆逐車" -"駆逐艇" -"進撃の巨人" in Google to find non-military contexts. –  3 to 5 business days Aug 7 at 18:03
    
One use that I see here and there is 動物駆逐, for example this PDF "動物駆逐用煙火(連続発射式)の取扱いにご注意ください! " by METI. These mean "chasing away" rather than "kill", right? –  3 to 5 business days Aug 7 at 18:06
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でも「方言が駆逐される」とか「プログラムからバグを駆逐する」みたいな使い方もします。害虫・害獣を殺す場合は普通「駆逐」より「駆除」を使いますね。 –  naruto Aug 7 at 18:07
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naruto's answers are always great. I wanted to say thank you for helping out people out of your own time. –  Aki Aug 8 at 5:26

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