[ kah-mi-kah-zee ]

  1. (during World War II) a member of a special corps in the Japanese air force charged with the suicidal mission of crashing an aircraft laden with explosives into an enemy target, especially a warship.

  2. an airplane used for this purpose.

  1. a person or thing that behaves in a wildly reckless or destructive manner: We were nearly run down by a kamikaze on a motorcycle.

  1. of, pertaining to, undertaken by, or characteristic of a kamikaze: a kamikaze pilot; a kamikaze attack.

Origin of kamikaze

1940–45; <Japanese, equivalent to kami(y) god (earlier *kamui) + kaze wind (earlier *kanzai

Words Nearby kamikaze

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How to use kamikaze in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for kamikaze


/ (ˌkæmɪˈkɑːzɪ) /

noun(often capital)
  1. (in World War II) one of a group of Japanese pilots who performed suicidal missions by crashing their aircraft, loaded with explosives, into an enemy target, esp a ship

  2. an aircraft used for such a mission

  1. (modifier) (of an action) undertaken or (of a person) undertaking an action in the knowledge that it will result in the death of the person performing it in order that maximum damage may be inflicted on an enemy: a kamikaze attack; a kamikaze bomber

  2. (modifier) extremely foolhardy and possibly self-defeating: kamikaze pricing

Origin of kamikaze

C20: from Japanese, from kami divine + kaze wind, referring to the winds that, according to Japanese tradition, destroyed a Mongol invasion fleet in 1281

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

Cultural definitions for kamikaze


[ (kah-muh-kah-zee) ]

Japanese fighter pilots in World War II, trained to make suicide crashes into Allied ships.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.