I have looked all over the internet and I cannot find a decent definition for the word 食いあさる / 食い漁る.

For context, here is a scene in a manga where it is used. Character A (female) is rummaging through food at an open buffet (both to eat and to take home), when they are approached by Character B (female) and the conversation turns to borrowing money.

B: あんた こっちに来てから散々 私を頼ってきてたじゃないの
A: それは昔の話! 今のボクは 親友の懐{ふところ}を食いあさったりしないよっ!
B: タダ飯は食いあさってたようだけど
A: うっ

I get that Character B is making some sort of pun along the lines of, rummaging through a friend's money <=> rummaging through an open buffet, but I am not sure if my understanding is correct.

The best definition I can find is the fourth definition for あさる:

④ 動詞の連用形に付いて,その動作をあちこちでする,してまわるの意を表す。「買い―・る」「読み―・る」

But does「親友の懐{ふところ}をあちこちで食う/食ってまわる」even make sense? Any help in explaining the meaning of 食いあさる would be greatly appreciated!

1 Answer 1


You're basically seeing the correct definition of this 漁る, but a certain nuance is missing from that definition.

~漁る can be added to a few verbs to form compound verbs. While it certainly has a meaning of "going around", such as in "shop around", it also carries a nuance like "acting like a beast in search of something". For example, both 買って回る and 買いあさる are correct verb usages, but the former simply means shopping at various places, whereas the latter has a connotation of acting on greedy desires when shopping.

The same applies to 懐を食い漁る ("to greedily go through someone's pocket/wallet"). Here, 漁る is used to emphasize greediness, and the meaning of "moving around" is not important. Of course, you can't literally eat a wallet, and the expression 懐を食う isn't generally common either, but this is a simple metaphor you should be able to understand easily.

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