I learned two words meaning "to compensate" "to make up for" and "to atone for" recently: 贖う and 償う. What is the difference between them? I feel like since they both end in なう they might be interchangeable but I don't know.

1 Answer 1


Somebody on Yahoo! Chiebukuro asked this exact same question. For reference, here is the post: 償いと贖いの違いは何ですか?

If I understand correctly, the answer there says that 贖【あがな】う is used exclusively to describe the atonement of money or goods, while 償【つぐな】う is used more broadly and can describe other situations (moral or physiological).

  • @chocolate 編集してくれてありがとうございます。私はディスレクシアに罹患していますので、入力することは難しいです。
    – Griffen
    Sep 5, 2016 at 0:21
  • 贖う is not "exclusively" used for money/goods. At least among Japanese Christians, it is used to mean "redeemed" (by Jesus ー 購われた者).
    – istrasci
    Jan 10, 2018 at 20:22

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