\yü-ˈkās, -ˈkāz, ˈyü-ˌkās, -ˌkāz; ü-ˈkäz \

Definition of ukase 

1 : a proclamation by a Russian emperor or government having the force of law

2 : edict

Keep scrolling for more

Ukase Has Russian Roots

English speakers adopted ukase more or less simultaneously from French (ukase) and Russian (ukaz) in the early 18th century. The word can be traced further back to the Russian verb ukazat', meaning "to show" or "to order," and its ultimate source is an ancient root that led to similar words in Latin, Sanskrit, and Old Church Slavic. A Russian ukase was a command from the highest levels of government that could not be disobeyed. But by the early 19th century, English speakers were also using ukase generally for any command that seemed to come from a higher authority, particularly one that was final or arbitrary.

Examples of ukase in a Sentence

she brazenly ignored the company's ukase about entering by the back door

Recent Examples on the Web

Trump must have felt quite confident in issuing his ukase. Garrett Epps, The Atlantic, "How Trump's Transgender Ban Compromises His Military Authority," 11 Aug. 2017

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

First Known Use of ukase

1729, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ukase

French & Russian; French, from Russian ukaz, from ukazat' to show, order; akin to Old Church Slavonic u- away, Latin au-, Sanskrit ava- and to Old Church Slavonic kazati to show

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ukase

Listen to Our Podcast about ukase

Dictionary Entries near ukase

uji fly







Statistics for ukase

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ukase

The first known use of ukase was in 1729

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on ukase

See words that rhyme with ukase

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ukase

Comments on ukase

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


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!