or shō·gun

[shoh-guh n, -guhn]

noun Japanese History.

the title applied to the chief military commanders from about the 8th century a.d. to the end of the 12th century, then applied to the hereditary officials who governed Japan, with the emperor as nominal ruler, until 1868, when the shogunate was terminated and the ruling power was returned to the emperor.

Origin of shogun

1605–15; < Japanese shōgun, earlier shaũgun < Middle Chinese, equivalent, to Chinese jiāngjūn literally, lead the army
Related formssho·gun·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shogun

Historical Examples of shogun

  • The body of the shogun is buried twenty feet deep in a bed of charcoal.

    The Critic in the Orient

    George Hamlin Fitch

  • The Shogun, his courtiers and his warriors bestirred themselves at once.

    Historic Adventures

    Rupert S. Holland

  • The actual ruler was the new Shogun Iysada, son of the former Shogun.

    Historic Adventures

    Rupert S. Holland

  • This advance of the fleet convinced the Shogun that Perry meant to go to Yedo.

    Historic Adventures

    Rupert S. Holland

  • While there the shogun appointed him to receive and entertain an envoy from the mikado.

British Dictionary definitions for shogun


noun Japanese history

(from 794 ad) a chief military commander
(from about 1192 to 1867) any of a line of hereditary military dictators who relegated the emperors to a position of purely theoretical supremacy
Derived Formsshogunal, adjective

Word Origin for shogun

C17: from Japanese, from Chinese chiang chün general, from chiang to lead + chün army
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 shogun

1610s, "hereditary commander of a Japanese army," from Japanese (sei-i-tai) shogun "(barbarian-subduing) chief" (late 12c.), sound-substitution for Chinese chiang chiin, literally "lead army."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper