Bu·​shi·​do ˈbu̇-shi-ˌdō How to pronounce Bushido (audio)
: a feudal-military Japanese code of behavior valuing honor above life

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First formulated in the 17th century, bushido is the code of conduct of the samurai class of Japan. Its precise content varied over time, taking on overtones of Zen Buddhism and Confucianism. Along with self-discipline, honor, and austerity, one constant feature was the samurai’s obligation to his lord, which superseded even familial ties. This obligation of loyalty and sacrifice was transferred to the emperor with the Meiji Restoration and was a significant feature of the Japanese national mindset during World War II.

Word History


Japanese bushidō

First Known Use

1898, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Bushido was in 1898

Dictionary Entries Near Bushido

Cite this Entry

“Bushido.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Bushido. Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

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