A rōnin (浪人, rōnin?) was a masterless samurai during the feudal period (1185�1868) of Japan. A samurai became masterless from the ruin or fall of his master, or after the loss of his master's favor or privilege.
The word rōnin literally means "drifting person". The term originated in the Nara and Heian periods, when it originally referred to serfs who had fled or deserted their master's land. It is also a term used for samurai who had lost their masters in wars