ka·ra·te | \kə-ˈrä-tē \

Definition of karate 

: a Japanese art of self-defense employing hand strikes and kicks to disable or subdue an opponent

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Other Words from karate

karateist \kə-ˈrä-tē-ist \ noun

Examples of karate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

He had been offered a teaching position at a karate school, at a time when few American martial arts academies distinguished between Japanese karate and Korean taekwondo. Washington Post, latimes.com, "Jhoon Rhee, who helped popularize taekwondo in the U.S., dies at 86," 4 May 2018 He had been offered a teaching position at a karate school, at a time when few American martial arts academies distinguished between Japanese karate and Korean tae kwon do. Washington Post, BostonGlobe.com, "Jhoon Rhee, who helped popularize tae kwon do in the US, dies at 86," 4 May 2018 When events conspire to bring the old foes back into both karate and one another’s orbit, history repeats itself in melodramatic fashion. Jeremy Egner, New York Times, "‘Karate Kid’ Revisited: This Rivalry Is Not Quite Ready for a Body Bag," 26 Apr. 2018 For example, the organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Games won approval for their proposal to add baseball, softball, karate, skateboard, sports climbing and surfing to the list of Olympic sports next year. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "Ultimate Frisbee is likely to fly into the 2024 or 2028 Olympic Games. You can see the world's top players here in Greater Cincinnati," 12 July 2018 Long story short: Detectives from the District Attorney’s Office traced the emails and arrested the guy, who had mental problems and a black belt in karate. Stu Bykofsky, Philly.com, "Note to U.S. journalists: Whine not | Stu Bykofsky," 5 July 2018 Johnny stumbles into the idea of teaching karate, reviving the Cobra Kai dojo, as a way of getting his mojo back, and not incidentally helping out a nerdy kid, Miguel (Xolo Maridueña), who's subjected to his share of abuse at school. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Karate Kid' spinoff 'Cobra Kai' delivers a hit for YouTube Red," 2 May 2018 Co-ed sports are offered in baseball, basketball, football, hockey, karate, among other sports at both locations. Marvin Glassman, Jewish Journal, "Israeli counselors, several programs featured at Camp Shalom," 29 June 2018 Camp activities include karate, basketball, tennis, soccer, cooking, science, yoga, music, dance gymnastics, art, magic, field trips, Shabbat, spirit rallies and more. Sergio Carmona, Jewish Journal, "Broward, Miami-Dade JCCs offer summer camp programs," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'karate.' 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 karate

1926, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for karate

Japanese, from kara empty + te hand

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Dictionary Entries near karate

Kara Su





Karatsu ware


Statistics for karate

Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for karate

The first known use of karate was in 1926

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More Definitions for karate



English Language Learners Definition of karate

: a form of fighting that was developed in Japan in which your feet and hands are used to kick and hit an opponent : a Japanese martial art


ka·ra·te | \kə-ˈrä-tē \

Kids Definition of karate

: an art of self-defense developed in Japan in which an attacker is defeated by kicks and punches

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Comments on karate

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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