The words 頑張る and 最善を尽くす both means "do my best". What's the difference and when should I use each of them?

2 Answers 2


頑張る sounds more "making strenuous effort" which can be positive or negative. It can imply you are giving it your best shot or you are just wasting energy/trifling in a different context.

However, 最善を尽くす sounds one is trying to find the best scenario as much as possible. It does not sound like "brute-force".

Probably, in a medical situation, saying 頑張る : "do one's best" does not take patients to be comfortable to receive the service by doctors. I think 最善を尽くす : "using the best solutions as much as they can" relieving patients more.


頑張る does not have the meaning of "my best". ALC gives 20 possible translations of 頑張る, which do not include "do my best". It is just "to work hard".

頑張る is fairly common, and 最善を尽くす is a big and serious set phrase you should use sparingly.

  • "頑張る does not have the meaning of "my best". " <-- Do you mean, that it doesn't only have that meaning, or are you saying it doesn't have that meaning at all? I thought "to do your best" was a pretty standard translation of 頑張る. One of the ALC meanings you linked is "give it one's all" which I would claim is pretty much the same as "do one's best". May 6, 2020 at 9:28
  • @user3856370 This is tricky, because "to do your best" is an idiomatic phrase in English that means something very similar to 頑張る, but is so commonly used that it has arguably drifted from the literal meaning involving anyone's actual "best". I don't think most native speakers actually expect someone's absolute best when told "I'll do my best"; I certainly don't. I just expect them to make an effort, or to 頑張る if you will.
    – Mindful
    May 6, 2020 at 21:56
  • It's in definition 1 on Jisho jisho.org/word/%E9%A0%91%E5%BC%B5%E3%82%8B
    – Leebo
    May 6, 2020 at 22:26

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