noun \ˈsa-mə-ˌrī, ˈsam-yə-\

: a member of a Japanese military class in the past

plural samurai

Full Definition of SAMURAI

:  a military retainer of a Japanese daimyo practicing the code of conduct of Bushido
:  the warrior aristocracy of Japan

Origin of SAMURAI

First Known Use: 1727

Other History Terms

agonistic, carpetbagger, enceinte, fief, historiography, paladin

Rhymes with SAMURAI

abide by, Adonai, alibi, alkali, amplify, apple-pie, argufy, assegai, azo dye, basify, beautify, butterfly, by-and-by, caddis fly, calcify, certify, Chou En-lai, citify, clarify, classify, coalify, cockneyfy, codify, college try, cottage pie, crucify, cut-and-try, cutie-pie, DIY, damnify, damselfly, dandify, deify, densify, dignify, dobsonfly, do-or-die, dragonfly, dulcify, eagle eye, edify, evil eye, falsify, fancify, fortify, frenchify, fructify, gasify, Gemini, gentrify, glorify, goggle-eye, goldeneye, gratify, Haggai, harvest fly, hexerei, high and dry, hip and thigh, Hokusai, hook and eye, horrify, hoverfly, humble pie, Iceni, justify, kiss good-bye, lazy eye, lignify, liquefy, lithify, Lorelei, lullaby, Madurai, magnify, Malachi, Maracay, minify, modify, mollify, Molokai, Mordecai, mortify, multi-ply, multiply, mummify, mystify, nazify, notify, nullify, occupy, old school tie, on standby, on the fly, ossify, overbuy, overfly, overlie, pacify, Paraguay, passerby, peccavi, petrify, PPI, preachify, prettify, private eye, prophesy, purify, putrefy, qualify, quantify, ramify, rarefy, ratify, RBI, rectify, reify, res gestae, robber fly, runner's high, Russify, sanctify, satisfy, scarify, schwarmerei, semidry, set store by, shepherd's pie, shoofly pie, signify, simplify, Spanish fly, specify, speechify, stratify, stultify, stupefy, sweetie pie, Tenebrae, terrify, testify, tie-and-dye, tigereye, Trans Alai, tumble dry, typify, uglify, underlie, unify, Uruguay, Veneti, verify, versify, vilify, vinify, vitrify, vivify, weather eye, Windsor tie, xanthene dye, yuppify, zombify


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Member of the Japanese warrior class. In early Japanese history, culture was associated with the imperial court, and warriors were accorded low status. The samurai became important with the rise in private estates (shoen), which needed military protection. Their power increased, and when Minamoto Yoritomo became the first shogun (military ruler) of the Kamakura period (1192–1333), they became the ruling class. They came to be characterized by the ethic of bushido, which stressed discipline, stoicism, and service. Samurai culture developed further under the Ashikaga shoguns of the Muromachi period (1338–1573). During the long interval of peace of the Tokugawa period (1603–1867), they were largely transformed into civil bureaucrats. As government employees, they received a stipend that was worth less and less in the flourishing merchant economy of the 18th–19th centuries in Edo (Tokyo) and Osaka. By the mid-19th century, lower-ranking samurai, eager for societal change and anxious to create a strong Japan in the face of Western encroachment, overthrew the shogunal government in the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Feudal distinctions were abolished in 1871. Some samurai rebelled (see Saigo Takamori), but most threw themselves into the task of modernizing Japan. See also daimyo; han.


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