ra·​ku ˈrä-(ˌ)kü How to pronounce raku (audio)
often attributive
: Japanese hand-modeled pottery that is fired at a low temperature and rapidly cooled
: a process by which pottery is fired at a relatively low temperature and then moved while hot to a closed container with combustible materials (such as paper or sawdust) that ignite and cause a reaction creating colors and patterns in the pottery's surface
also : pottery produced using this process

Examples of raku in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The weekend’s free show and sale will feature a raku firing from District Clay on Saturday and potter demonstrations on Sunday. Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2023 The day includes sales, demos, live raku firings plus local musicians performing and food trucks. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Sep. 2023 The reality of raku production, though, lost its fun, Totah said. Caron Golden, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Apr. 2023 Totah became besotted with raku techniques, a firing process in which the glowing-hot vessel goes from the kiln to a container full of combustibles, then sealed for cooling. Caron Golden, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Apr. 2023 For the primary bathroom, Ms. Caron and her client began with the striking floor tile—a raku flower pattern by Ann Sacks in a custom mosaic of brown, pink and white stone, its colors aligning with the house’s dominant palette. Sarah Karnasiewicz, WSJ, 25 Jan. 2022 When visiting, don’t miss the unique work of Lisa Schumaier, a mixed media sculptor and native of Alexandria who creates whimsical animals and beasts in the style of raku ceramics. al, 9 Dec. 2019 Guest potters demonstrate horsehair and fuming raku, throwing demonstrations and decorating. Luann Gibbs, Cincinnati.com, 21 Mar. 2018 The calligraphy on the left—written as kai raku en—means ‘strange, bizarre or monstrous paradise’ in Japanese. Nobuyoshi Araki, WSJ, 5 Sep. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'raku.' 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, literally, pleasure; from the use of the character for this word on a seal given to the family of the potter who introduced the style

First Known Use

1875, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of raku was in 1875

Dictionary Entries Near raku

Cite this Entry

“Raku.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raku. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

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