noun, often attributive
ka·​na | \ ˈkä-nə How to pronounce kana (audio) \
plural kana

Definition of kana

: a Japanese system of syllabic writing having characters that can be used exclusively for writing foreign words or in combination with kanji (as for indicating pronunciations or grammatical inflections) also : a single character belonging to the kana system — compare hiragana, katakana

Examples of kana in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The NEAC 2203, released in 1960 by NEC, could handle Roman characters and Japanese kana. Laura Moorhead, WIRED, "Memory Lane," 24 Apr. 2007

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

First Known Use of kana

1727, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kana


Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about kana

Statistics for kana

Cite this Entry

“Kana.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kana. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on kana

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about kana

Comments on kana

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!