I am trying to understand how to use the word 僻む properly. If I understood correctly, it means "feeling bitter or resentful". After searching for example sentences, I've got the impression that the verb is frequently used without a grammatical object (whether indirect or direct), but mainly to express the subject's emotional bitterness in front of a situation.

For example (source here):

  1. 自信がない彼女は美人を見ると僻む。

rather than:

  1. 自信がない彼女は美人僻む。

  2. 自信がない彼女は美人僻む。

Is there any situation in which the thing causing such bitterness or resentment (in my example sentence 美人) can be marked directly with a particle such as in 2. or 3.? And if so, how usual is it? I looked up the word also to determine if its a 自動詞 or a 他動詞 but it looks like it can be both, so I'm not sure.

For what is worth, I also found this example sentence (source here) where 人を僻む is used:

  1. 人を僻むが自分は何も努力しない人

  • そのWeblioの辞書のページ、古語辞典ですし、一番下に「注意 現代語では[一]②の用法だけ。」とあるので、今は他動詞の用法は無いのではないでしょうか。明鏡には自動詞の用法しか載ってないですし、広辞苑にも、🈩「自動詞五段」ですが、🈔「他動詞下二段 」 とあるので。
    – chocolate
    Sep 20, 2023 at 16:22
  • @Chocolate 確かに、下二段の手がかりに目を向けると、古語であることが分かりますね。ありがとうございます
    – jarmanso7
    Sep 20, 2023 at 17:26
  • 〜を僻む could be a misuse of 〜を妬む. It's not uncommon, though.
    – aguijonazo
    Sep 21, 2023 at 22:43
  • @aguijonazo What isn't uncommon, the misuse you point out?
    – jarmanso7
    Sep 21, 2023 at 23:43

2 Answers 2


A question like this can be answered using a corpus: https://tsukubawebcorpus.jp/search/

In summary:

  • The vast majority of examples are used without any target directly marked with ~に or ~を. I would prefer 美人を見て僻む to 美人を僻む, too.
  • Still, ~を僻む is not rare, either. Personally, I think ~ことをひがむ, ~さんをひがむ and so on are natural enough. enter image description here
  • ~に僻む seems to be much rarer than I initially thought. You can say it's virtually nonexistent.
  • However, ~への僻み is common enough.

I am afraid that the answer may be lengthy, but let me go ahead.

The verb 僻む (ひがむ) in Japanese, meaning "to be jealous" or "to be envious," can indeed function as both a transitive (他動詞) and intransitive verb (自動詞), which can make its usage a bit nuanced.

In your examples:

自信がない彼女は美人を見ると僻む。 (When the girl lacking confidence sees a beautiful woman, she feels jealous.) This sentence uses 僻む in an intransitive way. The girl's feeling of jealousy is triggered by seeing a beautiful woman, but the verb itself isn't directly acting upon the beautiful woman. The jealousy is a state or reaction that arises within the subject (the girl) due to the situation (seeing the beautiful woman).

自信がない彼女は美人に僻む。 自信がない彼女は美人を僻む。 These sentences are less common in usage. While theoretically possible, they would imply that the girl's jealousy is more directly targeted at the beautiful woman, almost as if the beautiful woman is the direct object of her jealousy. This direct object usage is less natural because jealousy is typically a reaction to a situation rather than an action directed at a person or thing.

Regarding the sentence 人を僻むが自分は何も努力しない人 (People who are jealous of others but do not make any effort themselves), here 僻む is used transitively. This usage is also correct and common in contexts where the focus is on the object of jealousy. The particle を is used to indicate the direct object of the jealousy, which in this case is 'people' (人).

In summary, while 僻む can be used both transitively and intransitively, its intransitive usage (without a direct object) is more common in everyday language, especially when expressing the subject's emotional state in reaction to a situation. The transitive usage, though grammatically correct, tends to be less common and is usually more specific in its implication, targeting the object of jealousy or envy more directly.

  • 1
    – chocolate
    Dec 5, 2023 at 9:24
  • @chocolate, No, I do not use AI tools. You may like to check how much work I do on Kanji by looking at ejable.com/japan-corner/remembering-kanji/…. Do check the Kanji table at the bottom of the page, which is an ongoing work. Dec 5, 2023 at 9:42

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