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[kah-nuh; Japanese kah-nah] /ˈkɑ nə; Japanese ˈkɑ nɑ/
a Japanese syllabic script consisting of 71 symbols and having two written varieties.
Compare hiragana, katakana.
Origin of kana
1720-30; < Japanese; earlier kanna, kari-na makeshift names (i.e., characters) as opposed to ma-na true characters, i.e., kanji Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for kana
Historical Examples
  • His friend kana, the suicide, was no longer to be the central figure.

    The Jewish State Theodor Herzl
  • If she had not said I kana Kim he might have struck her with a caldron.

    In the South Seas Robert Louis Stevenson
  • As kana′tĭ did not return, the boys at last concluded to go and find him.

    Myths of the Cherokee James Mooney
  • kana′tĭ was surprised, but said nothing, and they went on again.

    Myths of the Cherokee James Mooney
  • Wolves—The wolf is regarded as the servant and watchdog of kana′tĭ.

    Myths of the Cherokee James Mooney
  • kana signifies the Japanese syllabary,—the characters with which the language is written.

    Shadowings Lafcadio Hearn
  • When she wrote to me she never employed the effeminate style of the kana, but wrote, oh!

  • kana looked forth, and Hakalanileo recoiled with fear at the blazing of his eyes.

  • Upon this, kana pointed out to Niheu a bush, and said, “Can you pull up that bush?”

  • kana looking on, said, tauntingly, “Your foeman will not be overcome by you.”

British Dictionary definitions for kana


the Japanese syllabary, which consists of two written varieties See hiragana, katakana
Word Origin
C18: from Japanese, literally: borrowed or provisional letters; compare kanji, which are regarded as real letters
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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