plural nunchaku or nunchakus
: a weapon of Japanese origin that consists of two sticks joined at their ends by a short length of rawhide, cord, or chain
usually plural

Note: The sticks of nunchakus are traditionally hardwood, but modern versions are made of various materials including metal and plastic.

Essentially two 12-inch sticks bound together by a short, double nylon cord, the nunchaku (pronounced nun-cha-koo) obtained prominence in America in the '70s, when kung fu fighter Bruce Lee wielded it with furious grace in his cult-classic movies.William Plummer and Robin Micheli

called also nunchuck

Examples of nunchaku in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Most notably, an animatronic model of E.T.’s head realized $635,000, the robot from Lost In Space achieved $455,000, and Bruce Lee’s nunchaku from Fist of Fury sold for $162,500. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 18 Dec. 2023 The resourceful killer double-fisting guns and nunchaku amid antique samurai weapons encased in glass. Jen Yamato, Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2023 In one episode, Tray’s son, Shazad (Dante Hoagland), gets in trouble for bringing nunchaku to school. Michael Ordona,, 30 May 2018 The suspect's 42-year-old son was arrested for disorderly conduct while intoxicate and obstructing official business; the latter arose from his hiding a pair of nunchaku, a martial arts weapon, he had been seen holding, police said. Bruce Geiselman,, 14 Oct. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nunchaku.' 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 dialect (Okinawa)

First Known Use

1961, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nunchaku was in 1961

Dictionary Entries Near nunchaku

Cite this Entry

“Nunchaku.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2024.

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