I'm trying to understand the grammar behind 当て, and after a bit of investigation I still don't quite understand a could of points.

The definition that I found for it is (n) depend on, expectations, aim (various sources including goo)

At first I thought it was derived from 当てる, but I'm not so sure because the meanings aren't exactly the same, and the te-form of 当てる is 当てて.

I found these two verbs that use 当て:

  • 当てはまる: to apply a rule
  • 当てにする: to count on someone =/= 当てにならない: not to be relied upon
  • 当て込む: to count on

My first questions is whether the in はまる is the particle or part of a verb.

To make this even more fun and confusing for me there are the nouns that use 当て:

  • 当て字: phonetic kanji
  • 当て身: strike, blow
  • 当て[擦]{こす}り: snide remark
  • 当て[推]{すい}[量]{りょう}: guesswork
  • 当て逃げ: hit-and-run

These seem to use both the meanings of "expectations" and "hit, strike", but more of the latter, which seems to me that it means 当てる in te-form, but without the second .

I'm just looking for some kind of clarification...is there some kind of pattern here that I'm missing, or am I over complicating this? Is there less of a difference between the "expectation" meaning and the "strike" meaning then there seems to me to be? It may not be important in the long run, but I'd like to know when 当て and 当てる are being used. Do I just have to memorize all the variants of 当て and 当てる on a case-by-case basis?

  • 1
    I'm pretty sure the in 当てはまる/当てはめる is part of the verb as they can also be written as 当て嵌まる/当て嵌める.
    – cypher
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 23:14
  • Yes, 当て isn't the -te form of 当てる, but it is the -masu stem.
    – Darcinon
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 22:23

1 Answer 1


In 当てはまる is part of the the verb はまる; it is pronounced "atehamaru", not "atewamaru".

As for the general meaning, if you think of as "hit a target" and learn all the expressions in terms of that, you should get by.

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