How do you say "to do something back" in Japanese?

For example, I read on the internet that if a horse bites you the best thing to do is "to bite back".

How would you say "to bite back" in Japanese?

Of course, this construction is universal in that you can "do anything back" basically. Another example would be "to kiss someone back".

Is there a general construction for "to do X back" in Japanese?

1 Answer 1


The general construction is ~返{かえ}す.

Let me list an example:

to bite back = 噛{かみ}付{つ}き返{かえ}す

Remember, however, this construction has a negative connotation.

In the case of "to kiss someone back" I would say キスのお返しをする.

  • 1
    Thank you again for another excellent answer! One question: what about 噛み返す?Does it mean anything? And if so, why is it 噛付き返す and not 噛み返す? Jul 8, 2015 at 11:42
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    噛む could mean both "chew" and "bite". If you say a dog 「噛む」 then it might well be "bite", but in most cases you should explicitly say 「噛みつく」 for biting. @eltonjohn I think "vying" is more accurate than "negative", for expressions like 一点を取り返してやった are undoubtedly "positive". Jul 8, 2015 at 11:55
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    @user213845 Yes, at least I think I speak Japanese natively while I'm wide awake :D Jul 9, 2015 at 4:42
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    「噛み返す」でもいいやん。eg「噛まれたら、噛み返してやれ!」By the way, it's normally spelled 噛付く, 噛返す, rather than 嚙付く, 嚙返す, no?
    – chocolate
    Jul 9, 2015 at 7:31
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    はあ。。。また関西弁ていうんでしょ。。。「微笑み返す」「笑い返す」 would be a few of rare exceptions, right?
    – chocolate
    Jul 9, 2015 at 8:12

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