According to a video on transitive/intransitive verbs, "Cure Dolly" states that whether a verb ends in す is "always" a reliable indicator on whether it is an "other-move" verb (他動詞):

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Yet according to my dictionary, the verb 出くわす is intransitive:

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Question: Is this one of those rare situations where transitivity and "other-moveness" (他動詞) diverges, so that 出くわす is an 他動詞 but still intransitive? Or is Cure Dolly's rule just wrong?

  • 2
    Is it part of a pair?
    – Leebo
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 1:14
  • 3
    I ask because the rule is about pairs. It doesn't make sense to discuss it with just one verb alone.
    – Leebo
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 2:08
  • Good point. I'm not sure this verb has a pair? So in that sense maybe Cure Dolly's rule isn't wrong.
    – George
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 3:37
  • No, 出くわす doesn't have the other *出食う, for example. 食う/食わす follows the rule in the sense that 食わす(or くらわす) can take a を-phrase.
    – sundowner
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 9:27

1 Answer 1


That rule is mostly true, especially for simple verbs, but it's not always true. There are a few exceptional cases where what was originally a transitive verb is now interpreted as an intransitive verb.

One example is 暮らす, which is normally regarded as an intransitive verb today. According to 明鏡国語辞典, it was originally a transitive (or causative) version of 暮れる, but something like "to make days end" eventually became an independent intransitive verb meaning "to live (a life)".

When it comes to compound verbs, there are quite a few intransitive verbs that end with す, including 踊り明かす, 泣きはらす, 鉢合わす and 怒り散らす.

As for 出くわす, I could not find any authoritative source regarding its etymology. But it may be related to 交はす【くわす】, which is a transitive verb meaning "to cross/exchange (something)" in classical Japanese (its modern equivalent is 交わす【かわす】). This may be another example of a verb that changed its transitivity while being used as a compound verb. Cure Dolly's rule is useful when you learn words, but this is not a rule recognized by an average Japanese person, and there is seldom a 100% correct rule in the world of vocabulary, anyway.

  • RE etymology: I asked here whether 出くわす is related to くわす, and people indicated that Kanji mismatches between 出会す and 喰わす indicated this couldn't be the case. I was able to find some usages of 出喰わす here though, so maybe they are related?
    – George
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 19:04
  • 1
    I found the entry in the NKD here on Kotobank. Apparently the form でっくわせる shows up first in 1700 → でっくわす in 1732 → でくわせる in about 1800 → でくわす in 1824. Looks like the canonical kanji spellings are 出会せる・出交せる / 出会す・出交す. My local NKD copy's entry for でっくわせる includes the note (「くわせる」は合わせるの意), but 合わせる is still transitive, I thought? Curious. Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 19:26
  • 1
    @George くわす is not a verb recognized by modern Japanese speakers, so you should have asked about it using kanji. According to NKD, 食わす is just an ateji.
    – naruto
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 23:12

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