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One of a line of military commanders who from 1192 until 1867 were generally the actual rulers of Japan, although nominally subordinate to the emperor.

[Japanese shōgun, general, from Middle Chinese tsiaŋkyn (also the source of Mandarin jiāngjūn) : tsiaŋ, to take, bring, undertake, support + kyn, army.]


1. (Historical Terms) (from 794 ad) a chief military commander
2. (Military) (from 794 ad) a chief military commander
3. (Historical Terms) (from about 1192 to 1867) any of a line of hereditary military dictators who relegated the emperors to a position of purely theoretical supremacy
4. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (from about 1192 to 1867) any of a line of hereditary military dictators who relegated the emperors to a position of purely theoretical supremacy
[C17: from Japanese, from Chinese chiang chün general, from chiang to lead + chün army]
ˈshoˌgunal adj


(ˈʃoʊ gən, -gʌn)

the title of the chief military commanders of Japan from the 8th to 12th centuries, later applied to the hereditary officials who governed Japan, with the emperor as nominal ruler, until 1868.
[1605–15; < Japanese shōgun, general]
sho′gun•ate (-gə nɪt, -ˌneɪt) n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.shogun - a hereditary military dictator of Japanshogun - a hereditary military dictator of Japan; the shoguns ruled Japan until the revolution of 1867-68
Japanese, Nipponese - a native or inhabitant of Japan
potentate, dictator - a ruler who is unconstrained by law
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