Definition of banzai in US English:



  • 1A Japanese battle cry.

  • 2A form of greeting used to the Japanese emperor.

    • ‘From the simplest (a hearty cry of skäl in Sweden or banzai in Japan) to the winding, poetic, hour-long toasts that briefly came into vogue in Ireland, it has been a long time since the hunting gods took any pleasure in the practice.’
    • ‘Some 500 supporters greeted Lee on his arrival by waving Taiwan's national flag and the ‘Hinomaru,’ or Japanese flag, while carrying welcome banners and chanting ‘Banzai, banzai!’’


  • (especially of Japanese troops) attacking fiercely and recklessly.

    ‘a banzai charge’
    • ‘A few miles up the track lies Mt Austen, where the Japanese defended their most important command post with suicidal banzai counter-attacks.’
    • ‘The emperor overrode his military, who wanted a banzai suicide last battle, and broadcast their unconditional surrender.’
    • ‘They resorted to one last desperate banzai mission that was put down without much of a struggle.’
    • ‘Company A beat off several banzai attacks but was bypassed and in danger of being cut off and surrounded.’
    • ‘Then, before dawn on 29 May, they launched one of the biggest banzai charges of the war which overran two command posts and a medical station before being halted.’


Japanese, literally ‘ten thousand years (of life to you)’.