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Based on the comments from Tsuoyshi Ito's answer to Translation of 竜すらも恐るるに足らない, 恐るるに足らない/恐るるに足りない is a set phrase meaning "not worth fearing".

Based on my understanding of 一段 verbs like 足りる, negation will yield 足りない.

How do I get to ない ?

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Easy: There's a 五段 verb 足る. – Zhen Lin Dec 27 '11 at 1:35
Strange, how did I manage to miss that. Searching 足る on nihongoresources.com with search criteria limited to verbs generated zero results. Not limiting the search criteria manages to get me the verb though. @ZhenLin if you would put it as an answer I'll accept it and conclude this question. – Flaw Dec 27 '11 at 1:42
up vote 4 down vote accepted

There are two verbs: a 五段 verb 足る and an 一段 verb 足りる. They both have the same meaning. According to the Daijisen [1], 足る was the original, and 足りる started being used in the early modern / Edo era:


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