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n. pl. issei or is·seis
A Japanese immigrant, especially one to the United States.

[Japanese : ichi, one, first (from Middle Chinese ʔjit (also the source of Mandarin , one), ultimately from Proto-Sino-Tibetan *it; akin to Burmese, ʔac) + sei, generation (from Middle Chinese ʂiaj`, generation, world; also the source of Mandarin shì).]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


a first generation Japanese immigrant to the USA
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



n., pl. -sei. (sometimes l.c.)
a Japanese immigrant to North America, esp. one who came to the U.S. prior to World War II and was ineligible for citizenship before 1952. Compare Kibei, Nisei, Sansei.
[1935–40; < Japanese, =is first + sei generation]
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