[ sam-oo-rahy ]
/ ˈsæm ʊˌraɪ /

noun, plural sam·u·rai. Japanese History.

a member of the hereditary warrior class in feudal Japan.
a retainer of a daimyo.

Nearby words

  1. samsun,
  2. samuel,
  3. samuelson,
  4. samuelson, paul a.,
  5. samuelsson,
  6. samurai bond,
  7. san,
  8. san andreas fault,
  9. san angelo,
  10. san anselmo

Origin of samurai

1720–30; < Japanese, earlier samurafi to serve, equivalent to sa- prefix + morafi watchfully wait (frequentative of mor- to guard) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for samurai

British Dictionary definitions for samurai


/ (ˈsæmʊˌraɪ, ˈsæmjʊ-) /

noun plural -rai

the Japanese warrior caste that provided the administrative and fighting aristocracy from the 11th to the 19th centuries
a member of this aristocracy

Word Origin for samurai

C19: from Japanese

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 samurai



1727, from Japanese samurai "warrior, knight," originally the military retainer of the daimio, variant of saburai, nominal form of sabura(h)u "to be in attendance, to serve."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper