kamikaze

noun
ka·​mi·​ka·​ze | \ ˌkä-mi-ˈkä-zē How to pronounce kamikaze (audio) \

Definition of kamikaze

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a member of a Japanese air attack corps in World War II assigned to make a suicidal crash on a target (such as a ship)
2 : an airplane containing explosives to be flown in a suicide crash on a target

kamikaze

adjective

Definition of kamikaze (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or resembling a kamikaze
2 : having or showing reckless disregard for safety or personal welfare

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Synonyms & Antonyms for kamikaze

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Did You Know?

In 1274 and 1281 Kublai Khan, the Mongol emperor of China, sent out great fleets to conquer Japan. Providential storms dispersed the fleets on both occasions and reinforced the Japanese belief that their gods would forever protect them. To the Japanese this salvation was kamikaze, “divine wind.” In World War II Japanese pilots who were willing to give up their lives to help save their country by destroying American ships were the members of a special corps named kamikaze after the storm that had saved Japan seven centuries earlier.

Examples of kamikaze in a Sentence

Adjective a bike messenger who regularly cuts across busy city streets with a kamikaze boldness
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Kalashnikov KUB-BLA drone is effectively a kamikaze meant to slip under the radar of traditional air-defense systems. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Kalashnikov Is Getting into the Business of Self-Destructing Drones," 20 Feb. 2019 As the now 20-year-old Pokora split his energies between helping to run Horizon and attending university, Wheeler continued his kamikaze quest for attention. Brendan I. Koerner, WIRED, "The Young and the Reckless," 17 Apr. 2018 This fueled speculation that the object could be a prototype kamikaze-style sat killer. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Space Junk Could Provide a Perfect Hiding Spot for Tiny Spy Satellites," 30 Nov. 2018 Kalashnikov KUB-BLA drone is effectively a kamikaze meant to slip under the radar of traditional air-defense systems. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Kalashnikov Is Getting into the Business of Self-Destructing Drones," 20 Feb. 2019 Attached to the sub were aquatic kamikazes: mini-subs called kaiten armed with explosives. Tony Perry, latimes.com, "A secret mission, torpedoes, sharks and the men who survived: The story of the 'Indianapolis'," 6 July 2018 As the now 20-year-old Pokora split his energies between helping to run Horizon and attending university, Wheeler continued his kamikaze quest for attention. Brendan I. Koerner, WIRED, "The Young and the Reckless," 17 Apr. 2018 Japanese forces, including kamikazes, sank 36 American ships and damaged 368 more. Michael Judge, WSJ, "My Grandfather and the ‘Blue Eyes-Brown Eyes’ Lesson," 6 Apr. 2018 The infamous destroyer, which was ultimately attacked by kamikazes and sunk in 1944, had been unseen for 73 years—until now. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "See Wreckage of Vessel That Fired First American Shot in WWII," 6 Dec. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective These kamikaze-like drone swarms are pretty far out for now, particularly for the Russia who lags behind the West in drone technology. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia's Huge Drone Swarms Could Be Unstoppable," 6 Nov. 2019 Your dependable melee weapon becomes useless against a stream of kamikaze service droids. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "System Shock 2 helped define survival horror — but it’s still in a league of its own," 11 Aug. 2019 She was destroyed in a kamikaze attack during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in November 1944. Fox News, "Bow of WW II US submarine discovered near remote Alaskan island," 31 July 2019 Or maybe some other Trump opponent will pick the perfect kamikaze maneuver and reopen the political field. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "You Can’t Beat Trump without Throwing a Punch," 24 July 2019 The Ranger missions were kamikaze-style; the spacecraft were engineered to streak straight toward the moon and capture as many images as possible before crashing onto its surface. Jenny Howard, National Geographic, "A brief history of moon exploration," 5 July 2019 The menu runs for pages — everything from fatty tuna rolls to poached octopus to kamikaze rolls of eel, cucumber, shrimp, flying fish roe, spicy mayo, and sweet soy sauce. BostonGlobe.com, "Where to eat in Greater Boston," 20 June 2019 Candidates have fixated on the unrealistic Brexit deadline of October 31st, claimed magical negotiating powers for themselves and flirted with a kamikaze policy of leaving the EU without a deal. The Economist, "Rory Stewart, odd man out," 7 June 2019 Like the kamikaze pilots of the air, Kairyu crews were not expected to return from their missions. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "In the Last Days of World War II, Japan Fielded a Fleet of Kamikaze Mini-Subs," 11 Feb. 2019

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

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First Known Use of kamikaze

Noun

1945, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1944, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for kamikaze

Noun

Japanese, literally, divine wind

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Time Traveler for kamikaze

The first known use of kamikaze was in 1944

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More Definitions for kamikaze

kamikaze

noun
How to pronounce kamikaze (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of kamikaze

: one of a group of Japanese pilots in World War II who were assigned to crash their planes into their targets

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More from Merriam-Webster on kamikaze

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kamikaze

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with kamikaze

Spanish Central: Translation of kamikaze

Nglish: Translation of kamikaze for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about kamikaze

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