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[heer-uh-gah-nuh; Japanese hee-rah-gah-nah] /ˌhɪər əˈgɑ nə; Japanese ˈhi rɑˈgɑ nɑ/
the cursive and more widely used of the two Japanese syllabaries.
Compare katakana.
Origin of hiragana
1815-25; < Japanese, equivalent to hira ordinary (earlier f(y)ira < *pira) + -gana, combining form of kana kana Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hiragana
  • The top one shows how it is normally written in the phonetic hiragana style.
  • Kana is, itself, composed of two alphabets called hiragana and katakana.
  • hiragana is a related alphabet that is used to represent words of other languages.
British Dictionary definitions for hiragana


one of the Japanese systems of syllabic writing based on Chinese cursive ideograms. The more widely used of the two current systems, it is employed in newspapers and general literature Compare katakana
Word Origin
from Japanese: flat kana
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 hiragana

from Japanese hiragana, from hira "plain" + kana "borrowed letter(s)."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hiragana in Technology

The cursive formed Japanese kana syllabary. Hiragana is mostly used for grammatical particles, verb-inflection, and Japanese words which are not written in kanji or which are too difficult for an educated person to read or write in kanji. Hiragana are also used for furigana.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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