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What does “Itatakimas” actually mean?

Do Japanese use it only before starting to eat or it means more than that? I was watching an anime and someone used that word when he was leaving the house, and I wondered if they use it before starting anything.

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    @Downvoters, as ever, please comment with what you think is wrong with this question, and suggestions for how to improve. A downvote without any comment at all is unhelpful and arguably damaging to the site and the community. Mar 28 '19 at 17:46
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    I didn't downvote, but I would be tempted to solely given that when I Google for "itatakimas" it automatically suggests "itadakimasu" and gives a bunch of results that, AFAICT, completely answer the question.
    – ConMan
    Mar 29 '19 at 6:10
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The first word you're thinking of ("before starting to eat") is [頂きます]{itadakimasu}. This is the polite form (ending in -masu) of the plain verb [頂く]{itadaku}.

<joke> In turn, itadaku is a compound of [板]{ita} ("board, plank") and [抱く]{daku} ("to hold in one's arms, to hug"), with a compound meaning of "to hug a board". </joke>

More seriously, itadaku is a humble word meaning "to receive". It is used in many contexts, such as:

  • At the start of a meal, used idiomatically to mean "I humbly receive this food", vaguely similar to how some people say grace before eating.
  • In a literal sense, to indicate that you have received something from someone else.
  • After another verb in the -te or conjunctive form, indicating that someone else is doing that verb for you.

The second term you're thinking of ("when ... leaving the house") is [行って]{itte}[来ます]{kimasu}. This is two verbs: itte is the -te or conjunctive form of the verb iku (polite form ikimasu, "to go") and kimasu is the polite form of the verb kuru ("to come"). Itte kimasu literally means "I'm going and coming back." Folks use it not just when leaving the house, but also when leaving some other place and coming back soon, for example, when leaving one's job site for a little bit to go to lunch or run an errand.

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