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Does anybody know where the くわない comes from?

あいつの態度が気にくわない |i don't like his attitude

My dictionary tells me the expression means:

不満である。気にいらない。and the kanji is 食う but I wonder does anyone understand the etymology?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are several theories (or guesses, rather) on this page:

  1. 食わない is used in the sense of 噛み合わない, where 噛み合わせ means engaging or meshing of gears or occlusion. Thus a more metaphorical use of 気が合わない.

  2. 食わない is used in the sense of 口に入る (or 口にくわえる; see def. 10 of 大辞林). Another metaphorical use.

  3. 食う replaced 召す in the phrase 気に召す, because 召す was once close in meaning to 食べる/食う (cf. 召し上がる).

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I am glad to see I am not the first to wonder this. Thanks. –  Tim Jan 3 '13 at 13:50

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