Definition of Ainu in English:


Line breaks: Ainu
Pronunciation: /ˈeɪnuː

noun (plural same or Ainus)

  • 1A member of an aboriginal people of northern Japan, physically distinct (with light skin colour and round eyes) from the majority population.
    More example sentences
    • Until 400 years ago, the Ainu controlled Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan's four main islands.
    • However, the author fails to mention whether the Japanese brought Buddhism or Confucianism to the Ainu.
    • Other linguistic minorities include the Korean-Japanese and the Ainu.
  • 2 [mass noun] The language of the Ainu people, perhaps related to Altaic. It is no longer in everyday use.
    More example sentences
    • Few people now speak Ainu as their primary language.
    • There are only a handful of native speakers of Ainu.
    • On Hokkaido Island in Japan, only eight elderly people were left that spoke the native tongue, Ainu, in the late 1980s.


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  • Relating to the Ainu or their language.
    More example sentences
    • This exhibition includes Ainu art which attracted great interest recently when exhibited in Europe.
    • Kamui-Chikap, in Ainu mythology, is the ‘God Bird’ who watches the people of the Earth from the branches of the tallest trees.
    • The spirit-sending festival, called i-omante, either for a bear or striped owl, was the most important Ainu festival.


the name in Ainu, literally 'man, person'.

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