ro·​nin | \ ˈrōnin \
plural ronin also ronins

Definition of ronin

1 : a vagrant samurai without a master
2 : a Japanese student who has failed a college entrance examination and is studying to take it again

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of ronin

1863, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ronin

Japanese rōnin

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ronin

Time Traveler for ronin

Time Traveler

The first known use of ronin was in 1863

See more words from the same year

Statistics for ronin

Cite this Entry

“Ronin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

Comments on ronin

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Namesakes Word Quiz

  • a citrus fruit possibly named after a person
  • Which of the following is a fruit named after a Moroccan seaport?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!