Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The cursive and flowing variety of kana used in most modern Japanese texts, especially to represent inflectional endings and particles.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The main syllabary for the Japanese language, used to represent native Japanese words, including particles, and when kanji is used, to represent verb and adjective endings.
  • n. A letter thereof

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The cursive form of Japanese writing, said to have been introduced by a Buddhist priest named Kuhai about the middle of the ninth century.

Etymologies

Japanese : hira, ordinary, plain + kana, kana; see kana.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Japanese romanization of 平仮名. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Modern Japanese uses four writing systems simultaneously: kanji (based on Chinese characters), two phonetic systems called hiragana and katakana, and the Roman alphabet (romaji).

    MARKETING AESTHETICS

  • The Japanese use only about 1,875 kanji characters, mostly for nouns, and write the rest of their language in phonetic characters known as hiragana and katakana.

    Evil Avatar

  • (Separately, they are called hiragana and katakana).

    MSDN Blogs

  • Having prior knowledge such as hiragana & katakana first before jumping into one of their course will save you time.

    Anime Nano!

  • "The Japanese therefore began to work on a phonetic syllabary now known as hiragana to make the Chinese kanji more adaptable as well as to express those matters uniquely Japanese for which there were no Chinese characters at all.

    The Miko

  • '' hiragana '' and '' katakana '' Japanese characters more than one day per week came to 51%, up 6 points.

    Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

  • And on the bright side at least it's not mixing kanji, hiragana, and katakana together as I've seen other artists do.

    Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz to write Fall Out Toyworks for Image | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

  • His lips moved as he deciphered the hiragana, and he was filled with joy that his mother had found someone to write on her behalf, and that he could read it.

    Blood Ninja II

  • For now, it was only the hiragana that he had mastered—the simplified form of writing that was used mainly by women.

    Blood Ninja II

  • Because, according to actual Japanese people, the various Japanese alphabets (there are several kinds including katakana, kanji and hiragana) are incredibly difficult to differentiate even for native Japanese readers.

    Shirin Sadeghi: Israeli Scientists Warn: Arabic Is "Hard for the Brain"

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