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[kah-nuh; Japanese kah-nah] /ˈkɑ nə; Japanese ˈkɑ nɑ/
a Japanese syllabic script consisting of 71 symbols and having two written varieties.
Compare hiragana, katakana.
Origin of kana
1720-30; < Japanese; earlier kanna, kari-na makeshift names (i.e., characters) as opposed to ma-na true characters, i.e., kanji Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for kana
Historical Examples
  • There is also the Great Thunderer, the thunder of the whirlwind and the hurricane, who seems to be identical with kana′tĭ himself.

    Myths of the Cherokee James Mooney
  • If she had not said I kana Kim he might have struck her with a caldron.

    In the South Seas Robert Louis Stevenson
  • He returned home and told his story, and all the people knew that he had seen Selu, the wife of kana′tĭ.

    Myths of the Cherokee James Mooney
  • As kana′tĭ did not return, the boys at last concluded to go and find him.

    Myths of the Cherokee James Mooney
  • kana′tĭ was surprised, but said nothing, and they went on again.

    Myths of the Cherokee James Mooney
  • kana signifies the Japanese syllabary,—the characters with which the language is written.

    Shadowings Lafcadio Hearn
  • Wolves—The wolf is regarded as the servant and watchdog of kana′tĭ.

    Myths of the Cherokee James Mooney
  • When she wrote to me she never employed the effeminate style of the kana, but wrote, oh!

  • For a description of the gatayû′stĭ game, see note to number 3, “kana′ti and Selu.”

    Myths of the Cherokee James Mooney
  • Upon this, kana pointed out to Niheu a bush, and said, “Can you pull up that bush?”

British Dictionary definitions for kana


the Japanese syllabary, which consists of two written varieties See hiragana, katakana
Word Origin
C18: from Japanese, literally: borrowed or provisional letters; compare kanji, which are regarded as real letters
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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kana in Technology

The two Japanese syllabaries, hiragana and katakana.

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