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

  • n. A judo or karate teacher.
  • n. A teacher or mentor.
  • n. Used as a form of address for such a person.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Japanese term for teacher. It has been adopted into English mostly for use with martial arts instructors. Sensei of martial arts usually live and/or work at a dojo where they instruct their apprentices. A live-in apprentice is also called uchi-deshi.


Japanese, teacher, master, from Middle Chinese senshiaj : sen, first + shiaj, to give birth, person, n. suff.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Japanese 先生 sensei, literally ‘one who lived before’. (Wiktionary)



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