I've seen the verb 給え【たまえ】, usually written in hiragana and after the stem of another verb, ending a phrase. I'm not too sure about its meaning.

I've read that it means "...please" but is that the only meaning? Also is it used in conversation and if so when/how should I use it?

  • Something like 読んでくれ給え ? I've always known it as "please", but talking down a level or two. In pop culture you'd here it being said to someone's subordinates. Mar 3, 2015 at 13:29

1 Answer 1


Not-so-young native speaker here. I personally have never used 「verb + たまえ」 myself or had another person say something to me using that structure.

The only places that I have actually heard it used have been:

  1. Fiction (films, dramas, plays, novels, etc.) and

  2. Religious sermons

In fiction, adult male speakers sometimes use 「verb + たまえ」 as a somewhat friendly imperative with younger colleagues. In real life, however, I have never met such a male boss or co-worker in the companies I have worked for.

In religious sermons and prayers, 「verb + たまえ」 is quite often used when asking for blessings from above.

  • 4
    It's the imperative of the now-very-archaic verb 給ふ 'bestow'. Historically it was used a lot like 下さい is now, but it's very much fallen out of use except for for dramatic effect.
    – Sjiveru
    Mar 3, 2015 at 18:33

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