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I saw it used recently but don't remember the line. It was being used toward a group of subordinates, as 小奴ら. I can't find the word in any dictionary or being explained online. What is the meaning and reading of 小奴?

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    "Heard"? So are you sure these are the right kanji? Or do you mean you saw it somewhere? – kuchitsu Jul 17 '16 at 16:33
  • Sorry, I meant saw. I wrote this question when I was tired. I'll edit it now. – ElSigh Jul 17 '16 at 23:51
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こやつ is usually written in hiragana. But in kanji, it's 此奴, not 子奴 nor 小奴. You can find this word in jisho.org, デジタル大辞泉, Wiktionary, and any other decent dictionary.

こやつ is a dated word used in place of こいつ. It often has a derogatory or accusatory nuance. Today, we mainly see こやつ in samurai dramas, historical novels and such. If you heard this used referring to someone's subordinates, probably it was for showing his humbleness to someone else (ie, introducing A's subordinates to A's boss).

By the way, according to this page, 小奴(こやっこ)seems to refer to "infant" or a certain type of servant in the Edo period. It's a very rare word, and I'm not familiar with this.

  • Umm, subordinate means someone lower than you, doesn't it? – kuchitsu Jul 17 '16 at 22:27
  • @kuchitsu I was thinking of introducing A's subordinates to A's boss. (eg. "将軍様、こやつらが私の手下でございます") – naruto Jul 17 '16 at 22:32
  • some people still use it on the internet (like 2-chan) when they are talking bad about other people. example: minkara.carview.co.jp/smart/userid/889619/blog/36436970 – Diogo Souza Jul 18 '16 at 3:12
  • I asked some friends and they also read it as "ko-yatsu-ra". Maybe using 小 is just to make it more rude. – Diogo Souza Jul 18 '16 at 3:16
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    @DiogoSouza Do you mean that 小奴 in that page is not a typo but a word recently (intentionally) coined by Japanese net users? I doubt it. Do you have similar recent examples? If I'm not mistaken, it's Chinese people who like to prefix 小 to make words derogatory (this page explains why 小 is derogatory...) – naruto Jul 18 '16 at 4:08
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I think that is こやつら (koyatsura), which I would translate as something like "These f****** bastards".

奴 is a derogatory way to say "he/she". Something like "This man".

Putting the 小 before 奴 makes it worse, and shows more anger and disrespect for the subject.

ら is just to make it plural.

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    If there is a ら after 小奴 , I would personally read as "こいつら" which is much more used than "こやつら". I'm not sure if it's the correct reading though. – Diogo Souza Jul 18 '16 at 4:30

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