nun·​cha·​ku | \ ˈnən-ˌchək How to pronounce nunchaku (audio) , ˌnən-ˈchä-kü How to pronounce nunchaku (audio) \
plural nunchaku or nunchakus

Definition of nunchaku

: 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

In one episode, Tray’s son, Shazad (Dante Hoagland), gets in trouble for bringing nunchaku to school. Michael Ordona,, "Tracy Morgan 'went through hell' and came back with an unusual comedy in 'The Last O.G.'," 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,, "Westlake police investigate apartment burglary: police blotter," 14 Oct. 2017

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

First Known Use of nunchaku

1961, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nunchaku

Japanese dialect (Okinawa)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nunchaku

Dictionary Entries near nunchaku

nun bird

nun buoy

Nunc Dimittis





Statistics for nunchaku

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nunchaku

The first known use of nunchaku was in 1961

See more words from the same year

Comments on nunchaku

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


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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