• synonyms


[bahn-zahy, bahn-; Japanese bahn-dzah-ee]
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  1. (used as a Japanese patriotic cry or joyous shout.)
  2. (used as a Japanese battle cry.)
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  1. leading to likely or inevitable death; suicidal: a banzai attack by Japanese troops in the last days of World War II.
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Origin of banzai

1890–95; < Japanese, equivalent to ban ten thousand + -zai, combining form of sai years of age (< Middle Chinese, akin to Chinese wàn-suì, Korean manse)
Can be confusedbanzai bonsai
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for banzai

Historical Examples

  • Some said they heard a voice reply 'Banzai,' some heard nothing.

    Chatterbox, 1906


  • Here the General was interrupted by a soul-stirring shout of “Banzai!”

  • His reason was all gone, yet he did not forget to shout Banzai for his Fatherland.

    Human Bullets

    Tadayoshi Sakurai

  • The signal was greeted with enthusiasm and loud cries of "Banzai!"


    Ferdinand Heinrich Grautoff

  • Some Japanese regiments, in attacking our positions, threw themselves with the cry of "Banzai!"

British Dictionary definitions for banzai


  1. a patriotic cheer, battle cry, or salutation
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Word Origin

Japanese: literally, (may you live for) ten thousand years
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

Word Origin and History for banzai

Japanese war-cry, 1893, literally "(may you live) ten thousand years," originally a greeting addressed to the emperor, from ban "ten thousand" + sai "year."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper