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In this question, たとえる is written 譬える. At first, I thought it might be to emphasize something but according to my research, 譬 is composed of two parts: the top 壁 without the 土, and 言. Therefore its on-reading is ひ due to the top part and its kun-reading is たとえる. But the dictionary I looked up did not say more than that, did not specify any nuances and tended to suggest that it is equivalent to 例える.

I also found that this kanji is an ancient version of 比. (譬喩{ひゆ}).

So, I am wondering, is this just an old-fashioned way to write たとえる or are/were there any nuances in usage?

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譬 is one of the old and rare kanji for たとえる, and IMO you can safely ignore this kanji. The only people who use this kanji today are certain kind of novelists who are inclined to use nonstandard kanji for aesthetic purposes. And kanji like this will almost always come with furigana today. Without furigana, even I am not sure if I can read 譬える without thinking for a second or two.

Aside from the nonstandard and old appearance, I can feel no difference between 例える and 譬える.

  • 読めませんでした…「誓える」の古い字かなんかかなと思いましたゎ・・・ – Chocolate Feb 28 '16 at 17:02

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