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

  • n. Japanese syllabic writing. The characters are simplified kanji and are usually used with kanji primarily to write inflections, particles, and function words and to show the pronunciations of some kanji and of all foreign words.
  • n. Any of the characters used in this system.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The hiragana and katakana syllabaries. These are used to write Japanese words and particles using characters that represent syllables. Kana are derived from kanji.
  • n. A hiragana or katakana character.
  • n. Plural form of kana.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Japanese writing as distinguished from Chinese, which is also used in Japan.


Japanese, pseudo-characters, kana : ka, false (from Middle Chinese kainodotst.gifʔ, kja·) + na, name.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Japanese 仮名 (kana, "syllabary"). (Wiktionary)



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