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[kah-tuh-kah-nuh; Japanese kah-tah-kah-nah] /ˌkɑ təˈkɑ nə; Japanese ˈkɑ tɑˈkɑ nɑ/
the more angular, less commonly used of the two Japanese syllabaries.
Compare hiragana.
Origin of katakana
1720-30; < Japanese, equivalent to kata part (of kanji) + kana kana Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for katakana
  • Kana is, itself, composed of two alphabets called hiragana and katakana.
British Dictionary definitions for katakana


one of the two systems of syllabic writing employed for the representation of Japanese, based on Chinese ideograms. It is used mainly for foreign or foreign-derived words
Word Origin
Japanese, from kata side + 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 katakana

from Japanese katakana, from kata "side" + kana "borrowed letter(s)."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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katakana in Technology

The square-formed Japanese kana syllabary. Katakana is mostly used to write foreign names, foreign words, and loan words as well as many onomatopeia, plant and animal names.

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