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I would like to know what's the meaning of 利く with this kanji 利. Could you also give me some examples, please?

I've searched in kotobank for a difference between 効く (to have effect) and 利く, but I haven't found any.

The only example I have found with 利く is the expression (気が利く), but I don't know in which kind of situations 気が利く is used.

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  • Could you please clarify? Are you wondering specifically how 利く differs from 効く? And have you done any research yet?
    – mamster
    Sep 29, 2018 at 16:18
  • Yes, I meant what you said: how 利く differs from 効く. I know that 効く means "to have effect" (for example, a medicine), and I've searched in kotobank for a difference between 効く / 利く, but I haven't found any.
    – Rick
    Sep 29, 2018 at 16:50
  • The only example I have found with 利く is the expression (気が利く), but I don't know also in which kind of situations 気が利く is used.
    – Rick
    Sep 29, 2018 at 16:52

1 Answer 1

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According to the dictionary, in most cases 利く and 効く are interchangeable.
https://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/51101/meaning/m0u/

But 利く should be used when it means the following 2 cases:

  1. 本来の機能を十分に発揮する。機敏に、また、さかんに活動する。
    The original function works fully, efficiently or actively.

examples:
鼻が利く。
The nose is good. (the nose is able to smell perfectly)

麻痺 (まひ) して手足が利かない。
Due to numbness, my legs and arms don't move.

  1. それをすることが可能である。できる。
    To have the ability to do something.

examples:
洗濯の利く生地。
a washable cloth.

無理の利かないからだ。
A body than can't stand too much effort.

学割が利く。
Student's discount can be used.

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  • 1
    According to the dictionary, in most cases 利く and 効く are interchangeable. Where does it say these are interchangeable in most cases? It lists 5 definitions, and says 効く is used for #1, 利く for #2 and #3, 口を利く for #4, and #5 is an archaic/literary usage.
    – chocolate
    Oct 1, 2018 at 23:39

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