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I've seen こき being used in expressions such as in こき使う (with the meaning of work someone hard) and 嘘こき (used to refer to someone who lies a lot, apparently). I haven't found this expression's meaning in any Japanese dictionaries, much less in Japanese-English ones. What does it mean and what's its origin?

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こき is the masu-stem of the verb こく, and こく should be in any dictionary.

こき in 嘘こき is masu-stem as a noun.

Note that 扱く and 放く are different words although both are almost always written in hiragana.

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  • I’ve always found it a bit odd that this word tends to be pronounced こきつかう{HLLLL}, which is not the usual pattern for a compound verb (normally either accented on the penultimate mora or accentless). So in my head I’ve tended to file こき as some sort of unique prefix or noun-like thing. But I guess that’s neither here nor there... – Darius Jahandarie Feb 24 at 15:02
  • Oh, 日本国語大辞典 does list it as a prefix! 二〘接頭〙 (動詞「こく(扱)」の連用形から)①動詞の上に付いて、その動作の意味を強める。「こき入る」 「こきさげる」 「こき散らす」 「こきむくる」など。②動詞の上に付いて、その動作を行なうのに、容赦なく行なう、むごくする、はなはだしくやる、の意を添える。「こきつかう」 「こきおろす」など。 – Darius Jahandarie Feb 24 at 15:06
  • @DariusJahandarie 扱く is rarely used as an independent verb, so I understand if someone wanted to categorize it as an prefix. 仕 as in 仕向ける/仕分ける may be categorized as a prefix, too. I personally pronounce like こきつかう【LHHHL】, but I commonly hear こきつかう【HLLLL】, too. – naruto Feb 24 at 22:59
  • 相〜 in 相対する、相次ぐ、相見える etc is the other thing that came to mind, especially because it shares the same pitch accent phenomenon. あい{HL}・ たいする{LHHL}、あい{HL}・ つぐ{LL}、あい{HL}・ まみえる{LHHL} – Darius Jahandarie Feb 24 at 23:05
  • Oh I've always thought that こきつかう is pronounced in two chunks too: こき{HL}/つかう{LHH}, if not two words in a chain... – broken laptop Feb 25 at 6:50

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