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or shōgun

[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.
Origin of shogun
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 shogun
Historical Examples
  • To more surely keep his people at home the shogun prohibited the building of any but small sailing vessels.

    The Old World and Its Ways William Jennings Bryan
  • The body of the shogun is buried twenty feet deep in a bed of charcoal.

    The Critic in the Orient George Hamlin Fitch
  • Here at last was found a pretext for the Imperialists to raise arms against the shogun.

  • This advance of the fleet convinced the shogun that Perry meant to go to Yedo.

    Historic Adventures Rupert S. Holland
  • The shogun started violently, and almost uttered a cry; he fancied himself the prey to some hallucination.

    The Usurper Judith Gautier
  • While there the shogun appointed him to receive and entertain an envoy from the mikado.

    The Gist of Japan R. B. Peery
  • I heard no mention of any one but General Signenari, sent by the shogun.

    The Usurper Judith Gautier
  • As he spoke, the shogun continued to turn over the pages of his book.

    The Usurper Judith Gautier
  • He knew that the shogun was trying to find traces of a young girl whom he adored.

    The Usurper Judith Gautier
  • He did not love the Regent, nor did he care much more for the shogun.

    The Usurper Judith Gautier
British Dictionary definitions for shogun


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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shogun

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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