Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The Japanese feudal military aristocracy.
  • n. A professional warrior belonging to this class.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. In feudal Japan, a soldier of noble birth who followed the code of bushido and served a daimyo.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • In the former feudal system of Japan, the class or a member of the class, of military retainers of the daimios, constituting the gentry or lesser nobility. They possessed power of life and death over the commoners, and wore two swords as their distinguishing mark. Their special rights and privileges were abolished with the fall of feudalism in 1871. They were referred to as “a cross between a knight and a gentleman”.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • The military class of Japan during the continuance of the feudal system there, including both daimios, or territorial nobles, and their vassals or military retainers, but more particularly the latter, or one of them; a military retainer of a daimio; a two-sworded man, or two-sworded men collectively. The samurai were both the soldiers and the scholars of Japan.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a Japanese warrior who was a member of the feudal military aristocracy
  • n. feudal Japanese military aristocracy

Etymologies

Japanese, warrior, from Old Japanese samurafi : sa-, pref. of unknown meaning + morafi, to watch, frequentative of mor-, to guard.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Japanese (さむらい, samurai). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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