[tawr-ee-ee, tohr-]

noun, plural to·ri·i.

(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.

Origin of torii

1720–30; < Japanese, equivalent to tori bird + (w)i perch Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Historical Examples of torii

British Dictionary definitions for torii


noun plural -rii

a gateway, esp one at the entrance to a Japanese Shinto temple

Word Origin for torii

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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper