n. pl. yakuza
1. A loose alliance of Japanese criminal organizations and illegal enterprises.
2. A Japanese gangster.
[Japanese yakuza, card hand consisting of eight, nine, and three (the worst possible hand in a traditional Japanese card game in which a player's final score is the last digit of the sum of the values of the player's hand), good-for-nothing, yakuza : ya, eight (from Old Japanese) + ku, nine (from Early Middle Chinese kuw' (also the source of Mandarin jiǔ, nine), ultimately from Proto-Sino-Tibetan *d-ku; akin to Tibetan dgu) + za, alteration of san, three (from Middle Chinese sam; also the source of Mandarin sān; see SAMPAN).]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
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