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[tawr-ee-ee, tohr-] /ˈtɔr iˌi, ˈtoʊr-/
noun, plural torii.
(in Japan) a form of decorative gateway or portal, consisting of two upright wooden posts connected at the top by two horizontal crosspieces, commonly found at the entrance to Shinto temples.
Origin of torii
1720-30; < Japanese, equivalent to tori bird + (w)i perch Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for torii
Historical Examples
  • Here may be mentioned those artists in whom the once-great torii School came to its inglorious end.

    Chats on Japanese Prints Arthur Davison Ficke
  • This latter I will describe when Japan, the land of the torii, is the topic.

    Travels in the Far East Ellen Mary Hayes Peck
  • Kiyomitsu took his place as the third great head of the torii line, succeeding his father Kiyomasu.

    Chats on Japanese Prints Arthur Davison Ficke
  • Kiyonobu I, the founder of the torii line, was born in 1664 and died in 1729.

    Chats on Japanese Prints Arthur Davison Ficke
  • In front of the temple stands a wooden arch, called a torii.

  • In subject and in manner, it is the torii tradition that he carries on.

    Chats on Japanese Prints Arthur Davison Ficke
  • All the beautiful gateways or torii, as they are called, are works of art.

    The Critic in the Orient George Hamlin Fitch
  • The usual etymology of torii is bird-perch; from Torĭ, a bird.

  • No one has been able to solve conclusively the origin of the torii, that wonderful gateway that leads nowhere.

    Myths & Legends of Japan F. Hadland (Frederick Hadland) Davis
  • In one spot there was a stack of torii lying on their sides.

    The Foundations of Japan J.W. Robertson Scott
British Dictionary definitions for torii


noun (pl) -rii
a gateway, esp one at the entrance to a Japanese Shinto temple
Word Origin
C19: from Japanese, literally: a perch for birds
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 torii

singular and plural, "gateway to a Shinto temple," Japanese, from tori "bird" + i "to sit, to perch."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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