[heer-uh-gah-nuh; Japanese hee-rah-gah-nah]
Compare katakana.

Origin of hiragana

1815–25; < Japanese, equivalent to hira ordinary (earlier f(y)ira < *pira) + -gana, combining form of kana kana
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for hiragana


  1. one of the Japanese systems of syllabic writing based on Chinese cursive ideograms. The more widely used of the two current systems, it is employed in newspapers and general literatureCompare katakana

Word Origin for hiragana

from Japanese: flat kana
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 hiragana

from Japanese hiragana, from hira "plain" + kana "borrowed letter(s)."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper