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[kuh-rah-tee] /kəˈrɑ ti/
a method developed in Japan of defending oneself without the use of weapons by striking sensitive areas on an attacker's body with the hands, elbows, knees, or feet.
Compare judo, jujitsu.
a sport based on this method of self-defense.
Origin of karate
1950-55; < Japanese, equivalent to kara empty + te (earlier *tai) hand(s) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for karate
  • But you understand that fingers are not used in boxing or karate.
  • For one thing, they all know karate and can break railroad ties with their bare hands.
  • His karate teacher began to notice a dramatic and progressive loss of coordination.
  • Few things in life offer more visceral proof of the power of physics than a karate chop.
  • Remember if you read karate manual it is not enough to become even a beginner in karate, you have to practice for a while.
  • The variety is astonishing: tap-dancing routines, karate demonstrations and music videos.
  • Beachwear gets a modern update, with the designer favoring sporty karate pants over sweats.
  • Police officers are required to protect people who cannot afford guns or karate lessons.
British Dictionary definitions for karate


  1. a traditional Japanese system of unarmed combat, employing smashes, chops, kicks, etc, made with the hands, feet, elbows, or legs
  2. (as modifier): a karate chop to the head
Word Origin
Japanese, literally: empty hand, from kara empty + te hand
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 karate

1955, Japanese, literally "empty hand, bare hand," from kara "empty" + te "hand." A devotee is a karateka.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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