sam·​u·​rai | \ ˈsa-mə-ˌrī How to pronounce samurai (audio) , ˈsam-yə- \
plural samurai

Definition of samurai

1 : a military retainer of a Japanese daimyo practicing the code of conduct of Bushido
2 : the warrior aristocracy of Japan

Examples of samurai in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Japanese samurai and soldiers from the Mogul empire guarded the Royal Palace. Joshua Hammer, Smithsonian, "The Hidden City of Myanmar," 21 Nov. 2019 The police are stumped: the room is sealed; a samurai sword stands upright in the snow outside; footprints lead in but not out. The Economist, "A beloved Japanese detective at last appears in English," 18 Dec. 2019 Caudill allegedly went back inside and came out with a Katana — a Japanese samurai sword — unsheathed it and threatened to cut off his father’s head. Dmitriy Shapiro, Detroit Free Press, "MSP: Man allegedly assaults paraplegic dad with hammer, threatens to cut off head," 17 Dec. 2019 The original trilogy cloaked age-old myths and genre tropes from Westerns, samurai films, World War II dramas and sci-fi serials in a shiny new set of fantasy armor that was both exotic and comforting. John Wenzel, The Know, "Commentary: Putting Star Wars to bed as Disney ends the 42-year “Skywalker saga”," 5 Dec. 2019 Katana trained under a famous samurai before heading to the United States to fight for justice. Sam Maggs, Marie Claire, "A Feminist Ranking of Female Superheroes," 16 Sep. 2019 The neighborhood, home to samurai during that period, has long been known for its shrines and narrow alleys. New York Times, "A Tokyo Itinerary, Over-the-Top Hats and More," 13 Sep. 2019 Wizards, dragons, princesses, horses, cars, motorcycles, airplanes, ships, ray guns, teddy bears, his family dog, pirates, car chases, Nazis, gangsters, samurai, dogfights, gunfights, swordfights, fist fights, gladiators, spies, castles, and robots. Wired, "The WIRED Guide to Star Wars," 22 Nov. 2019 Guests can see judo, a samurai warrior display, traditional dance, and ballet choreography of Chiaki Yasukawa, former leading artist for the Orlando Ballet for 18 years. Tiffini Theisen,, "Orlando Japan Festival highlights traditional music and dance, food, martial arts, kimono try-ons and more," 8 Nov. 2019

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

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First Known Use of samurai

1727, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for samurai


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Time Traveler for samurai

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The first known use of samurai was in 1727

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Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Samurai.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for samurai


How to pronounce samurai (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of samurai

: a member of a Japanese military class in the past

More from Merriam-Webster on samurai

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with samurai Encyclopedia article about samurai

Comments on samurai

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out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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