Sunday, October 16, 2016

Itadakimasu - Meaning in Japanese | 頂きます

The expression itadakimasu 頂きます is one that's often said before meals in anime, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out it's one of things you have to say or else you'll come off as rude. But what does itadakimasu means in Japanese?

Well, to begin with, itadakimasu 頂きます is the polite conjugation, formal form, of the verb itadaku 頂く, which means more or less "to gladly take" or "to gladly receive."

Basically, in Japanese, when there's something being offered and you take it, that's itadaku 頂く. If nobody offers anything and you take it anyway, it's morau 貰う. If someone gives you something, it's kureru くれる. So itadakimasu is a mix between those two words and, being the polite version, is like saying "oh? I can take this? Are you letting me have this? Thanks. I'll take this."

Example Phrases

To help understand the actual meaning of the verb itadaku 頂く, nothing better than phrases where itadakimasu isn't the only word being said. Take a look:
  • shigoto wo itadakimasu 仕事を頂きます
    I'll accept the job (that was offered)
  • hana wo itadakimashita 花を頂きました
    I accepted a flower (that was offered to me)
  • tatakawasete itadakimasu 戦わせていただきます
    I'm gonna fight (because you let me)

And so on.

Itadakimasu vs. Thank You For The Meal

Often, itadakimasu 頂きます is translated as "thank you for the meal" or "thank you for the food." Though this is alright most of the time, when it's used as an expression before meals, it isn't true to the verb.

The reason people say itadakimasu 頂きます before meals is because they're about to take something (food) which has been offered to them. So itadakimasu doesn't mean "thank you," in fact, it can be used by someone stealing stuff if the context allows it.

For example, say there's this thief character who likes stealing things. He sees a precious item that is left unguarded, lacking any security, practically being offered to anyone who'd dare take it. That's one occasion itadakimasu could be used.

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