This characters speaks a bit fancy I guess. He tells the main characters to fight these robots.


The art of war's essence dwells in the instant

こいつらを一撃 一時にて 打ち負かしてみせよ

While I understand the general sentence is "defeat them" but I'm stumbled on 一時にて. Is this just some fancy adverbial form? As far I know にて is only used with nouns.

  • にて is literary form of で, and 一時 is noun. According to linguists such as Frellesvig and Vovin, nite is originally -te form (Conjunctive/Gerund) of n- defective copula (verb "to be"), whose Continuative is ni. Case particle nite developed from this verbal form, and next nite in both functions underwent contraction to de (where d was actually prenasalized [ⁿd]). In Modern Japanese, case particle にて is still used (e.g. in Japanese Wikipedia), but verbal にて (e.g. as part of にてある extended copula) seems no longer used, and で is used there (e.g. in である).
    – Arfrever
    Commented Jun 6 at 0:56

1 Answer 1


Yes, that's an elevated and old-fashioned way of saying "一撃(で)、(そして)一瞬で" ("with a single strike, in a single moment").

一時 refers to a short period of time, and it's used as a noun here. (Just in case, ひととき/いっとき works both as a noun and an adverb in modern Japanese.)

にて can be interpreted as a literary alternative of で here, and it's applied to both 一撃 and 一時. Etymologically, the particle で derived from にて.

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