I was reading a manga called Rengoku ni Warau and Kaishin said:

  • ったく、人をこき使いやがって


Jisho says that こき使い means pushing someone around or to work someone hard but it doesn't seem to fit with the context. Kaishin said that to Goemon, a fellow ninja that was trying to convince him to desert the battlefield and who has been by Tanba's (ジジィ's) side for many years, so I don't think "pushing someone around" would be a good translation.

Moreover, I would like to know the origin of こき使い's こき.

  • By any chance, isn't どこ(を) missing before ほっつき歩いて? – naruto Jun 17 '20 at 22:58
  • Just a note that the entry on Jisho does show what こき comes from. – Leebo Jun 17 '20 at 23:47

こき使う is a compound verb made of 扱く and 使う. 扱く can be read both as こく and しごく (こく is less common), but they originally mean roughly the same thing, "to rub/scrub", and by extension, "to work someone hard". From Compound Verb Lexicon:


I don't know the story, but こき使う only means "to work someone hard". Do you understand 人 in this context probably refers to "me", the speaker? 人をこき使いやがって means "[Someone] is driving me like a horse".

  • Oh, that makes sense! I initially thought he was referring to Goemon. Thanks! – Elizabeth Middleford Jun 18 '20 at 10:55

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