ya·​ku·​za ˈyä-ku̇-ˌzä How to pronounce yakuza (audio)
plural yakuza
: a Japanese gangster
: an organized crime syndicate in Japan

Examples of yakuza in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The question of the season is: Can the supposedly incorruptible Katagiri stay clean under enormous pressure and the yakuza’s threats towards his family? Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 May 2024 Katagiri previously tried to maintain a delicate peace between the different yakuza factions, but the arrival of detective Shoko Negate (Miki Maya) heralds a new, aggressive stance by the police to end the yakuza’s choke hold on the city. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 May 2024 Actually, Sato is not always safe in his yakuza family, Chihara-Kai. Demetrius Patterson, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Apr. 2024 In this case, a noble yakuza whose careful character development over nearly two decades has earned him, and his game series, a steadily growing base of fans — and endless meme potential. Gene Park, Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2024 This is because the yakuza, or the mob, is known for amputating fingers (although usually pinkies) as punishment. Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Washington Post, 14 May 2023 The murderous shoot-out at Club Polina that grievously injured yakuza boss Hitoshi Ishida (Shun Sagata) and killed suave customer Masahiro Ohno (Takayuki Suzuki) still has unanswered questions. Christian Holub, EW.com, 13 Mar. 2024 The Last Samurai, practically cornered the Hollywood market on playing yakuza bosses and samurai warriors. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 8 Mar. 2024 Rick has made enemies of a different yakuza clan, and by interfering with their hit on him, Pearl might just have ignited a deadly gang war. Jennifer Maas, Variety, 27 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'yakuza.' 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, ruffian, gangster

First Known Use

1964, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of yakuza was in 1964

Dictionary Entries Near yakuza

Cite this Entry

“Yakuza.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/yakuza. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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