From Wikipedia:

 –§–  貴様 — formerly an extremely honorific form of address; in modern speech is as insulting as, but more refined than, "temee"

貴様 is often said (by textbooks) to be the most insulting word used refer to someone, even more insulting than 手前.

Then, what does the article mean when it says that 貴様 is more refined than 手前?

Or is that information just plain wrong?

4 Answers 4


Refinement is a reflection of the speaker, not the listener. While an opposing baron would use 「貴様」, a thug would use 「手前」.


If nothing else, /teme:/ is Tokyo (shitamachi) dialect, while /kisama/ is standard Japanese. Refinement doesn't necessarily correlate with politeness; "ignorant oaf" might be considered more refined than "top bloke."


I've also seen 貴様 used between brothers. 手前 is a word one most likely wouldn't use toward a brother.

  • You mean "貴様" is used jokingly ?
    – Pacerier
    Feb 25, 2012 at 21:07
  • @Pacerier That's right. :)
    – summea
    Feb 25, 2012 at 22:20

Kisama is so often used in anime,it hardly seems vulgar!It seems like a crude way of saying 'you',the same way hokkiens and taiwanese use limpei to describe 'i'.

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