ka·​ra·​te kə-ˈrä-tē How to pronounce karate (audio)
: a Japanese art of self-defense employing hand strikes and kicks to disable or subdue an opponent
karateist noun

Examples of karate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There’s fishman karate and new gum-gum attacks, but those weren’t the only focus for director Josef Wladyka. Alexandra Del Rosario, Los Angeles Times, 4 Sep. 2023 The initial take on fishman karate — the humanoid beings’ combat style — fell into the latter, Scalise said. Alexandra Del Rosario, Los Angeles Times, 4 Sep. 2023 Trim and fit well into his senior years, Mr. Barker had studied karate with Chuck Norris and never lost his fondness for tanning, despite brushes with skin cancer. Robin Webb, Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2023 The new season will also likely explore many of the plotlines in season 5, including Johnny and Carmen welcoming their child, Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang entering the biggest karate tournament in the world and much more. Kelsie Gibson, Peoplemag, 15 June 2023 Cobra Kai star Ralph Macchio filmed scenes for season three on the lush main island of Okinawa — the birthplace of karate and the site of one of World War II’s bloodiest battles — over a few days. Kathryn Romeyn, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Apr. 2023 An omnivorous athlete, Andrew is black belt in karate, a devoted weight lifter, and a frequent high finisher in triathlon and Spartan races. Andrew Heffernan, Men's Health, 13 May 2023 The executions on Saturday of two young men in Iran, one a karate champion, the other a volunteer children’s coach, in connection with the nationwide protests, sparked outrage around the world. Celine Alkhaldi, CNN, 10 Jan. 2023 To save money, the new musicians were outfitted in matching black karate suits (instead of the more costly tuxedos of the previous lineup). David Browne, Rolling Stone, 14 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'karate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Japanese, from kara empty + te hand

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of karate was in 1926

Dictionary Entries Near karate

Cite this Entry

“Karate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/karate. Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


ka·​ra·​te kə-ˈrät-ē How to pronounce karate (audio)
: a Japanese art of self-defense without a weapon

from Japanese karate, literally, "empty hand"

More from Merriam-Webster on karate

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