What does せり mean in 「ワレ奇襲【きしゅう】ニ成功【せいこう】セリ」?

We succeeded in our surprise attack.


I get the following vocabulary:

我【われ】 we

奇襲【きしゅう】 surprise attack

に particle

成功 【せいこう】 success

but I don't understand what the セリ does at the end.

  • Sometimes 我 can point to an individual, not always "we/us". It does gets complicated when used by militia, as their concept/unit of individuality is quite different from the ordinary.
    – dungarian
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 17:29

1 Answer 1


「成功せ」 -- 未然形 of the classical サ変 verb 「成功す」
(「せ」 -- 未然形 of the classical サ変 verb 「す」, which corresponds to 「する」 in modern Japanese)
「り」 -- classical auxiliary, 完了の助動詞 「り」

「ワレ奇襲ニ成功セリ」 means 「私は奇襲に成功した。」 lit. "I have succeeded in a surprise attack."

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