I was studying kanji when I noticed that 承{うけたまわ}る and 賜{たまわ}る share 「たまわる」and they do seem to have related meanings. In fact, it appears to me that 承る is a compound verb that combines 受ける and 賜る but I'm not sure. Are they related? And if so, why the difference in kanji?


1 Answer 1


(Full disclosure: I edited the Wiktionary entry linked earlier in the comments.)


承{うけたまわ}る and 賜{たまわ}る are indeed related: 承{うけたまわ}る even has a rare alternative spelling as 受{う}け賜{たまわ}る. 賜{たまわ}る has a meaning of "to be granted or gifted something from a social superior", and the additional 受{う}け on the front in 承{うけたまわ}る adds an additional sense of "to receive, to take in".


As others have noted, don't let the spellings confuse you about the derivations. Spellings in Japanese have historically been rather fluid (and, if you've read any manga and noticed the liberal use of furigana, you'll see that they can still be quite flexible). If you are curious about the derivation of a particular word, and that word is kun'yomi, examine it with a focus on the kana -- how the word is spoken. Kanji for kun'yomi terms are an additional layer, providing further nuance, but the kanji are largely irrelevant to the actual derivation of kun'yomi terms.

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    This link gives some further details on the difference between 承る and 受け賜る, saying that the former is used for humbly receiving information, and the latter is for humbly receiving an item. eigobu.jp/magazine/uketamawaru
    – jogloran
    Apr 29, 2020 at 20:07

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