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Ainu Syllabification: Ai·nu
Pronunciation: /ˈīno͞o/

Definition of Ainu in English:


1 (plural same or Ainus) A member of an aboriginal people of Japan, physically distinct (with light skin color and round eyes) from the majority population.
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.
2The language of the Ainu people, of unknown affinity.
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.
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.


Early 19th century: the name in Ainu, literally 'man, person'.

Definition of Ainu in:
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