Sa"mu*rai`(?), n. pl. & sing. [Jap.] In the former feudal system of Japan, the class or a member of the class, of military retainers of the daimios, constituting the gentry or lesser nobility. They possessed power of life and death over the commoners, and wore two swords as their distinguishing mark. Their special rights and privileges were abolished with the fall of feudalism in 1871. They were referred to as "a cross between a knight and a gentleman".
[Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC]
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