• synonyms


noun, plural kan·ji, kan·jis.
  1. a system of Japanese writing using Chinese-derived characters.
  2. a character in this system.
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Origin of kanji

1915–20; < Japanese < Middle Chinese, equivalent to Chinese hàn Han (i.e., China) + characters
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for kanji


noun plural -ji or -jis
  1. a Japanese writing system using characters mainly derived from Chinese ideograms
  2. a character in this system
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Word Origin

Japanese, from Chinese han Chinese + zi character
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 kanji


"Chinese ideographs that make up the bulk of Japanese writing," 1920, from Japanese kan "Chinese" + ji "letter, character."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper