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🌏 Region(s): Kanto (Gunma), Chubu (Niigata, Toyama), Kansai (Kyoto), Shikoku (Ehime), Kyushu (Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Oita)





  1. To hurry; to hasten; to rush; to be in a hurry; to make haste


Cognate to Aomori せぐ segu and へぐ hegu; Gunma, Toyama, Kyoto, Oita and Kumamoto せく seku; Amakusa (Kumamoto) しぇく sheku; Kagoshima せっ seq; and standard Japanese せく【急く】 seku "to hurry". Related to Ayabe (Kyoto) せける sekeru "to hurry".

Historical attestations:

  • A Japanese and English Dictionary: With an English and Japanese Index (1867), by James Curtis Hepburn, records "Seki, -ku, -ita [...] To hurry, to make haste, to urge, drive".
  • 小学漢和辞典 Shōgaku kanwa jiten (1875), by Haga Kōtarō, records "せく(急く)㊀いらだつ、はやる、いそぐ。㊁いそがせる、うながす。"
  • An English-Japanese dictionary of the spoken language (1876), by E.M. Satow and Ishibashi Masakata, records "hurry [...] seku" and "to be impatient [...] ki ga seku".
  • 日本大辞書 Nihon dai jisho (1894), by Binyō Yamada, records "セク{急ぐ}ハヤル、イラダツ、アワテル".
  • An Unabridged Japanese-English Dictionary, with Copious Illustrations, Part 1 (1896), by Francis Brinkley et al., records "Seku [...] To be hasty, or impatient; to hurry on; to urge, press or drive another to do anything".


  • Possibly cognate with, conflated with or influenced by standard Japanese いそぐ【急ぐ】 isogu "to hurry; to hasten; to rush" (Nagano えそぐ esogu; Kagoshima いそっ isoq; Okinoerabu いしゅがゆん ishugayun; Okinawan いすじゅん isujun; Miyako いすぐズ isugɿ; Miyako (Nishihara) いすー isuu; Yonaguni いすぐん isugun; etc.). Evidence in favour of this comes from Kyushu, where a parallel can be drawn between Standard Japanese forms like isogu, isogashii and isogaseru and regional counterparts such as seku, sekarashii, and sekasuru (but these may be unrelated or later changes); or even Hokkaido, where isogaseru becomes sekaseru or hegaseru.
  • Unclear relation with せく【急く】 seku "to breathe with difficulty" (esp. in いきせく【息急く】 ikiseku "to pant, to gasp (for air)") , せく【咳く】 seku "to cough", せく【塞く・堰く】 seku "to block; dam" and historical senses of せく seku including "to block (a road)", "to shut (a door)", "to interfere (in relations)", "to feel pain (in one's chest or stomach)", "to be squeezed [jostled] by a crowd, to be crowded". Several sources (including the 日本国語大辞典) group these senses together under the same origin but exclude the sense of "to hurry".
    • The word  せき【関】 seki "gate, barrier" (historically for collecting a toll) is likely related to the senses of "block (a road)" or "shut (a door)".
  • Accent pattern studies might help clarify if the sense of "to hurry" and other senses share the same accent pattern, which could hint at a common origin. Dialects of interest include Oita (where "to cough; to hurry; to feel pain" are used), Kagoshima (where "to hurry" was not historically attested, but "to shut; to crowd; to feel pain" were) and other Kyushu dialects like Nagasaki and Kumamoto.
  • Between the Nippo Jisho (日葡辞書) and James Hepburn's work, a semantic difference exists in the phrase "michi o seku". The Nippo Jisho translates it as "to shut [obstruct] a road" while James Hepburn and later works translate it as "to make haste when traveling".


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