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[bahn-zahy, bahn-; Japanese bahn-dzah-ee] /bɑnˈzaɪ, ˈbɑn-; Japanese ˈbɑnˈdzɑ i/
(used as a Japanese patriotic cry or joyous shout.)
(used as a Japanese battle cry.)
leading to likely or inevitable death; suicidal:
a banzai attack by Japanese troops in the last days of World War II.
Origin of banzai
1890-95; < Japanese, equivalent to ban ten thousand + -zai, combining form of sai years of age (< Middle Chinese, akin to Chinese wàn-suì, Korean manse)
Can be confused
banzai, bonsai. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for banzai
Historical Examples
  • He repeated banzai over and over again, and also shouted Come, come, Japanese soldiers!

    Human Bullets Tadayoshi Sakurai
  • His reason was all gone, yet he did not forget to shout banzai for his Fatherland.

    Human Bullets Tadayoshi Sakurai
  • Some said they heard a voice reply 'banzai,' some heard nothing.

  • The signal was greeted with enthusiasm and loud cries of "banzai!"

    Banzai! Ferdinand Heinrich Grautoff
  • But the Japanese were brave to the last, and sank beneath the waves with the cry of banzai!

    At the Fall of Port Arthur Edward Stratemeyer
  • Some Japanese regiments, in attacking our positions, threw themselves with the cry of "banzai!"

  • My crew received me back with literally open arms and loud shouts of “banzai Nippon!”

  • I had already made my selection, when suddenly a voice called out from the rigging, 'banzai!

  • The imperial colors waved high above our new camp, and the banzai of rejoicing arose like surges of the sea!

    Human Bullets Tadayoshi Sakurai
  • banzai was shouted two or three times; joy and congratulation resounded on the heights of Kenzan, which was now virtually ours.

    Human Bullets Tadayoshi Sakurai
British Dictionary definitions for banzai


/ˈbɑːnzaɪ; bɑːnˈzaɪ/
a patriotic cheer, battle cry, or salutation
Word Origin
Japanese: literally, (may you live for) ten thousand years
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
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Word Origin and History for banzai

Japanese war-cry, 1893, literally "(may you live) ten thousand years," originally a greeting addressed to the emperor, from ban "ten thousand" + sai "year."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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