What's the difference between 降参する and 諦める?

Both seems to have the meaning of "to give up", for example:

What's the difference in their nuances / meaning?

  • 降参 sounds like a rather formal word... one that sounds incongruous next to ぜったい.
    – Zhen Lin
    Feb 24, 2013 at 7:47
  • Here is a tip; if a verb written by 2 kanjis it's a formal form. Feb 24, 2013 at 8:05
  • 3
    @BirkanAras Are these all formal, then? 片付く・怒鳴る・躊躇う・藻掻く・芽生える・勉強する
    – user1478
    Feb 24, 2013 at 11:36
  • 2
    I was bothered for a long time by the difference between 降参 and 降伏
    – ssb
    Feb 24, 2013 at 12:41
  • 2
    @ZhenLin: Would it sound/look incongruous next to 絶対?
    – jkerian
    Feb 25, 2013 at 19:31

1 Answer 1


I think the difference between 降参する and 諦める is the difference between "to surrender" and "to give up".

Giving up is more an emotional state of not having any hope left. Surrendering means that you "put down your arms", officially, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have given up hope.

In that sense, 降参する makes more sense in a formal context of two parties against one another, whereas 諦める can be used in all sorts of situations. E.g.

I've given up trying to get rich.

You have no way out! Surrender! (from SpaceALC)

One does not imply the other. You can surrender as a strategic move, without having given up. You can have given up (hope for life), and choose not to surrender until you die.

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