• synonyms


[tawr-ee-ee, tohr-]
noun, plural to·ri·i.
  1. (in Japan) a form of decorative gateway or portal, consisting of two upright wooden posts connected at the top by two horizontal crosspieces, commonly found at the entrance to Shinto temples.
Show More

Origin of torii

1720–30; < Japanese, equivalent to tori bird + (w)i perch
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for torii

Historical Examples

  • This latter I will describe when Japan, the land of the torii, is the topic.

    Travels in the Far East

    Ellen Mary Hayes Peck

  • All the beautiful gateways or torii, as they are called, are works of art.

    The Critic in the Orient

    George Hamlin Fitch

  • In subject and in manner, it is the Torii tradition that he carries on.

    Chats on Japanese Prints

    Arthur Davison Ficke

  • Kiyonobu I, the founder of the Torii line, was born in 1664 and died in 1729.

    Chats on Japanese Prints

    Arthur Davison Ficke

  • The usual etymology of Torii is bird-perch; from Torĭ, a bird.

British Dictionary definitions for torii


noun plural -rii
  1. a gateway, esp one at the entrance to a Japanese Shinto temple
Show More

Word Origin

C19: from Japanese, literally: a perch for birds
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 torii


singular and plural, "gateway to a Shinto temple," Japanese, from tori "bird" + i "to sit, to perch."

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper