ja·​pan | \ jə-ˈpan How to pronounce japan (audio) \

Definition of japan

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: of, relating to, or originating in Japan : of a kind or style characteristic of Japanese workmanship



Definition of japan (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : any of several varnishes yielding a hard brilliant finish
b : a hard dark coating containing asphalt and a drier that is used especially on metal and fixed by heating

called also japan black

2 : work (such as lacquerware) finished and decorated in the Japanese manner


japanned; japanning

Definition of japan (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to cover with or as if with a coat of japan
2 : to give a high gloss to


geographical name
Ja·​pan | \ jə-ˈpan How to pronounce Japan (audio) , ja- \
variants: or Japanese Nippon \ ni-​ˈpän How to pronounce Nippon (audio) , nē-​ˈpȯⁿ \ or Nihon \ nē-​ˈhȯn How to pronounce Nihon (audio) \

Definition of Japan (Entry 4 of 4)

country in eastern Asia comprising Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, and other islands in the western Pacific; a constitutional monarchy; capital Tokyo area 145,914 square miles (377,915 square kilometers), population 126,168,000

see also japanese

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Other Words from japan


japanner noun

Examples of japan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The man, who has requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of his claim -- media in japan have honored the request -- took six weeks off after his first son was born in 2015 and then another 13 months of leave before his son's second birthday. Julie Zaugg And Yoko Wakatsuki, CNN, "Landmark paternity case challenges Japan's work culture," 12 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'japan.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of japan


1673, in the meaning defined above


1688, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1703, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for japan

Time Traveler

The first known use of japan was in 1673

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Cite this Entry

“Japan.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/japan. Accessed 29 January 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on japan

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with japan

Spanish Central: Translation of japan

Nglish: Translation of japan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of japan for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about japan

Comments on japan

What made you want to look up japan? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to assert without proof or before proving

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