\ yü-ˈkās How to pronounce ukase (audio) , -ˈkāz, ˈyü-ˌkās, -ˌkāz How to pronounce ukase (audio) ; ü-ˈkäz How to pronounce ukase (audio) \

Definition of ukase

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

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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 After a brief sitting this week, under Johnson’s ukase, Parliament was not scheduled to meet again until Oct. 14, leaving him with a lot of unaccountable power. E.j. Dionne Jr., The Mercury News, "Dionne: What US gun violence and Brexit have in common," 5 Sep. 2019 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

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Time Traveler for ukase

Time Traveler

The first known use of ukase was in 1729

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Cite this Entry

“Ukase.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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