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[shoh-guh n, -guhn] /ˈʃoʊ gən, -gʌn/
noun, Japanese History
the title applied to the chief military commanders from about the 8th century a.d. to the end of the 12th century, then applied to the hereditary officials who governed Japan, with the emperor as nominal ruler, until 1868, when the shogunate was terminated and the ruling power was returned to the emperor.
Also, shōgun.
1605-15; < Japanese shōgun, earlier shaũgun < Middle Chinese, equivalent, to Chinese jiāngjūn literally, lead the army
Related forms
shogunal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for shōgun
  • Such elaborately decorated conveyances were reserved for the shogun's family, especially his brides.
  • He was fluent in the language and eventually translated for the shogun.
  • Instruct students to use available resources to research the term shogun.
British Dictionary definitions for shōgun


noun (Japanese history)
(from 794 ad) a chief military commander
(from about 1192 to 1867) any of a line of hereditary military dictators who relegated the emperors to a position of purely theoretical supremacy
Derived Forms
shogunal, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Japanese, from Chinese chiang chün general, from chiang to lead + chün army
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for shōgun



1610s, "hereditary commander of a Japanese army," from Japanese (sei-i-tai) shogun "(barbarian-subduing) chief" (late 12c.), sound-substitution for Chinese chiang chiin, literally "lead army."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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