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I am trying to read this passage from a novel:

時に切り刻み、時に擦り潰し、時に生きたまま頭蓋に穴をあけ、時に人間に己の子を炙り殺させた『実験』の日々。

Background info: A mad, twisted scientist is reminiscing about all the horrific experiments he carried out in the past. The world setting in the novel compromises of different species of intelligent beings including humans. This specific passage describes all the things he did to 人間.

The part that's giving me trouble is "人間に己の子を炙り殺させた". I have never come across this specific combination of words 炙り殺す, I've tried looking in a dictionary including a monolingual one with no luck. If someone can help me interpret the meaning I would be grateful!

  • Combining two separate verbs like that is very common in Japanese. For example, there are dozens of combinations of 引き~, like 引きずる、引きちぎる、引きとる, etc. With this pattern, the first verb is in its stem form and the second verb contains the tense/conjugation, etc. – kandyman Jan 30 '18 at 22:57
  • However, sometimes the first verb used as stem form has its own meaning that the original word does not have. For example. 取り has the meaning of 確実に、慎重に、十分に(新明解). – Weijun Zhou Jan 30 '18 at 23:27
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In meaning,

「炙{あぶ}り殺{ころ}す」=「炙って殺す」

Literally, "to roast and kill".

More naturally, "to burn to death".

A nice question to answer at the peaceful breakfast table.

  • I like the last sentence. – Weijun Zhou Jan 31 '18 at 0:41
  • @l'électeur Thanks, so it would mean "sometimes he would let the humans burn their own children to death." (If it helps you hold down your breakfast any better, from the context, I do believe "children" is referring to a weaker group of humans rather than actual kids!) – Snarks- Jan 31 '18 at 1:35
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It means 殺す by the means of 炙る. Similar words include 斬{き}り殺{ころ}す.

  • I see, that makes sense! – Snarks- Jan 31 '18 at 1:28
  • @Snarks- Please also note my comment in the question and that l'électeur's answer is gramatically more correct. I am just telling how to understand it more naturally. – Weijun Zhou Jan 31 '18 at 1:31

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