Definition - One of the two syllabaries used in Japan — the other being Hiragana.

1. The script was derived from Chinese ideographs, and it is used chiefly in scientific and official documents, telegrams, and bank statements, and to spell out foreign loanwords.

Etymology -
The word katakana means "fragmentary or side kana" in Japanese — where kana means "borrowed letters."

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation is from 1727:
"The other was a map of the whole world, of their own making, in an oval form, and mark'd with the Japanese Kattakanna characters."
(J. G. Scheuchzer tr. Kæmpfer's Hist. Japan II. v. xiv. 590)

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