yakuza

[ yah-koo-zah ]
/ ˈyɑ kʊˌzɑ /

noun, plural ya·ku·za.

any of various tightly knit Japanese criminal organizations having a ritualistic, strict code of honor.
such organizations collectively.
a member of such an organization; gangster.

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Origin of yakuza

1960–65; <Japanese: racketeer, gambler, good-for-nothing, useless, from the name of a game in which the worst hand is of three cards marked ya eight, ku nine (<Middle Chinese, equivalent to Chinese jiǒu), and -za three (combining form of sa(n) <Middle Chinese, equivalent to Chinese sān)
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Example sentences from the Web for yakuza

British Dictionary definitions for yakuza

yakuza
/ (jəˈkuːzə) /

noun plural -kuza

the yakuza a Japanese criminal organization involved in illegal gambling, extortion, gun-running, etc
a member of this organization

Word Origin for yakuza

C20: from Japanese ya eight + ku nine + za three, the worst hand in a game of cards
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