6

I don't even know if this is the correct place to post this. The only source that I'm in touch with the Japanese language is through anime. So my question, which I understand that could be kinda silly,

Gomen'nasai translates to I'm sorry. Kiri-sute gomen is the right for a Samurai to "Cut and leave" in case a commoner insults his honor

So does "gomen" mean something literally ? or is it an untranslatable word?

  • 2
    ごめん(御免) has other uses too, like ごめんだ and ごめんください. – snailboat Sep 23 '14 at 9:44
  • 4
    @Rilakkuma What makes you think so? – snailboat Sep 23 '14 at 14:14
  • 2
    I've heard it in dramas based in Tokyo.... – Robin Sep 23 '14 at 17:30
  • 2
    I've also seen ごめんください used in a couple anime in a similar fashion (i.e. as a sort of "Hello, anyone home?"), and I think they were based in Tokyo. – Igor Skochinsky Sep 23 '14 at 21:18
  • 2
    This discussion is so funny. Tokyoites say ごめんください all the time when entering another person's home. I cannot even think of another phrase that could replace it. – l'électeur Sep 24 '14 at 1:21
3

The word ごめん (gomen) essentially means "forgive" or "pardon". ごめんなさい (gomen nasai) is a common phrase that literally means "forgive me" or "pardon me", and ごめん (gomen) or ごめんね (gomen ne) is a more colloquial way to say the same thing. Like saying "sorry" instead of saying "I am sorry".

I don't know much about samurai-era Japanese, and so I've never heard "kiri-sute gomen" before. But assuming it's written 切り捨てごめん, then it would presumably mean something like "forgive them by cutting them and throwing them away".

Correction: Based on the defintion Darius Jahandarie linked in the comments, The meaning of "Kirisute gomen" is more like "pardoned for cutting and throwing away" and refers to the special right of being able to kill someone of a low station and not be charged with a crime. Essentially, a "license to kill" (legal pardon for killing). According to the same article, it was not a general license to kill in every situation, but was to be exercised in accord with the warrior customs of the time.

  • @DariusJahandarie - Fair enough. As I admitted, I was only speculating. I'll add your reference to my answer. – Joshua Carmody Sep 23 '14 at 21:32
  • This is a quote from dictionary, could be interesting regarding "licences": ごめん: ① 免許許可の尊敬語。「お出入り―になる」「天下―」「木戸―」 ② 免官免職の尊敬語。「お役を―になる」 – Rilakkuma Sep 23 '14 at 23:56
  • hey guys great answer thank you very much! – libathos Sep 24 '14 at 7:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.