sho·​gun ˈshō-gən How to pronounce shogun (audio)
: one of a line of military governors ruling Japan until the revolution of 1867–68
shogunal adjective
shogunate noun

Examples of shogun in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Original author James Clavell based Toranaga on the real-life shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, who lived during the late 16th and early 17th centuries and who was responsible for reviving the Gagaku music traditions that largely disappeared during the civil wars that preceded his rise to power. Jon Burlingame, Variety, 14 Mar. 2024 Ieyasu’s victory—cemented by his appointment as shogun in 1603—ushered in the Tokugawa shogunate, an era of prosperity that endured for more than two and a half centuries. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Feb. 2024 Kumon used detailed census records for 586 Japanese villages from 1640 to 1870, originally collected as part of the shogun’s efforts to root out Christians, to show that Tokugawa Japan was much more equal than Western Europe at the time. Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post, 10 Nov. 2023 Near the 17th-century shogun’s palace, Nijo Castle, Hotel the Mitsui Kyoto is an exquisite new property by Japanese architect Akira Kuryu and Hong Kong interior designer André Fu. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, 7 Aug. 2023 Half of Edo's 1.2 million people either fought for or worked for the shogun, or lived in the families of men who did so. Marjoleine Kars, Star Tribune, 31 Aug. 2020 Then, in March 1776, Thunberg was part of one of the most remarkable expeditions from Dejima—the annual trip to Edo (as Tokyo was then called) to pay respect to the shogun. Rob Goss, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 May 2022 For Japanese history buffs, the significance was clear: Tokugawa came back from the defeat and later became shogun controlling all of Japan. Megumi Fujikawa, WSJ, 8 Aug. 2022 The opening and the third act deal with the political power struggle, which ties in with the local shogun’s increasingly hostile stance toward the story-songs performed by the lead characters. Kyle Smith, WSJ, 11 Aug. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shogun.' 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 shōgun

First Known Use

1727, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shogun was in 1727

Dictionary Entries Near shogun

Cite this Entry

“Shogun.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


sho·​gun ˈshō-gən How to pronounce shogun (audio)
: any of a line of military governors ruling Japan until the revolution of 1867–68
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