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I want to know if my understanding of the term やっちまった is correct. Could you please help me out?

The word used is やっちまった, this is the past form of やっちまう which means "to do something one regrets". It is a colloquialism built from やって, the -te form of やる (to do), and しまう (to finish).

However, colloquially, やる can mean "to harm; to injure; to kill" and しまう, after the -te form of a verb, means "to finish ...; to do ... completely", indicating completion (and sometimes reluctance, regret, etc.).

So やっちまった can mean "to completely kill" or something alike.

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Yes, やっちまった is a colloquial contraction of やってしまった, and sounds a bit rough and masculine to me. See this for the rule.

しまう is a subsidiary verb that has several meanings, but when やっちまった is said after someone did something, it expresses the speaker's regrettable feeling rather than the completeness of the action. See this article. "またやっちまった" almost always means "(Oops) I did it again (although I was not supposed to do so / although it was not my intention / regrettably)" rather than "I did it completely again (intentionally)".

やる can be used to euphemistically mean "to kill" in certain rare contexts, but it's usually written in kanji (i.e. 殺る) in manga/novels to show it's different from the normal やる. You don't have to necessarily translate やる in "やっちまった" as "to kill" even in a murder context. Isn't "Oh no, I did it" enough?

  • Ah, you're a Naruto fan? You might understand the context (and know who I am?^^). It's about Shikamaru's words about the Second Hokage and Kinkaku here. To me, the original meaning of やっちまった doesn't make sense in this context and even the anime adaption translated it as "kill". In the Naruto wikia, this has been a subject of discussion for quite some time and I'm looking to settle it. So I appreciate your help! :) – Seelentau Sep 11 '16 at 1:29
  • I'm afraid my name is not related to the manga at all (^^;) Anyway, you should've included that screenshot in the question. Even native speakers can make mistakes if you didn't provide enough context. Judging form the screenshot, both two やる clearly mean 殺す. I feel ちまう here still expresses the speaker's regret (although I don't know the story). But ちまう can mean "completely" in similar contexts. See this and this. – naruto Sep 11 '16 at 1:54
  • Yes, I became aware of that when visiting your profile. Sorry about that.^^ So the translation would be something like "regrettably killed the Second Hokage"? That was my initial thought. – Seelentau Sep 11 '16 at 1:57
  • Yes, kind of, but in many cases you can just leave しまう untranslated, as you can see in the Tae Kim's article. – naruto Sep 11 '16 at 2:01

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