noun, plural kanji, kanjis.
a system of Japanese writing using Chinese-derived characters.
a character in this system.

1915–20; < Japanese < Middle Chinese, equivalent to Chinese hàn Han (i.e., China) + characters

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World English Dictionary
kanji (ˈkændʒɪ, ˈkɑːn-)
n , pl -ji, -jis
1.  a Japanese writing system using characters mainly derived from Chinese ideograms
2.  a character in this system
[Japanese, from Chinese han Chinese + zi character]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"Chinese ideographs that make up the bulk of Japanese writing," 1920, from Jap. kan "Chinese" + ji "letter, character."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

kanji definition

human language, character
/kahn'jee/ (From the Japanese "kan" - the Chinese Han dynasty, and "ji" - glyph or letter of the alphabet. Not capitalised. Plural "kanji") The Japanese word for a Han character used in Japanese. Kanji constitute a part of the writing system used to represent the Japanese language in written, printed and displayed form. The term is also used for the collection of all kanji letters.
US-ASCII doesn't include kanji characters, but some character encodings, including Unicode, do.
The Japanese writing system also uses hiragana, katakana, and sometimes romaji (Roman alphabet letters). These characters are distinct from, though commonly used in combination with, kanji. Furigana are also added sometimes.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in Japanese writing, characters adapted from Chinese characters and usually employed for writing nouns, verb roots, adjectives, and other important words. The Japanese affixes for verb tenses, prepositions, and other grammatical markers, which do not exist in Chinese, are indicated by hiragana symbols written beside the kanji. The pronunciation of kanji symbols may be indicated as well by hiragana signs. See also kana.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
It showed up perfectly in the preview, but now the kanji and kana appear as question marks.
Stop by any tattoo shop, and there's a good chance you'll see someone getting a kanji character inked onto his or her skin.
Two or more kanji together can have a meaning quite different from one in isolation.
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