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[oo-pan-i-shad, oo-pah-ni-shahd]
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noun Hinduism.
  1. any of a class of speculative prose treatises composed between the 8th and 6th centuries b.c. and first written a.d. c1300: they represent a philosophical development beyond the Vedas, having as their principal message the unity of Brahman and Atman.

Origin of Upanishad

< Sanskrit upaniṣad, equivalent to upa near + ni- down + -ṣad, sandhi variant of sad- sit1
Related formsU·pan·i·shad·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for upanishad

Historical Examples

  • For him who knows this, there is this Upanishad, or secret vow, 'Beg not!'

    Sacred Books of the East


  • The primary meaning is the plain sense of the terms of the Upanishad, and Vyas says it in his aphorisms.

    Chaitanya's Life And Teachings

    Krishna das Kaviraja

  • The sketch of his doctrines which it contains is clearly a preliminary study elaborated and amplified in the Upanishad.

  • According to an Upanishad to the Samaveda, guilt or innocence is proved by the grasping a red-hot axe; a burn is a proof of guilt.

  • The remainder of this Upanishad is supplementary, but contains several passages of considerable interest.

British Dictionary definitions for upanishad


  1. Hinduism any of a class of the Sanskrit sacred books probably composed between 400 and 200 bc and embodying the mystical and esoteric doctrines of ancient Hindu philosophy
Derived FormsUpanishadic, adjective

Word Origin

C19: from Sanskrit upanisad a sitting down near something, from upa near to + ni down + sīdati he sits
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for upanishad


class of treatises in Sanskrit literature, 1805, from Sanskrit upa-nishad, literally "a sitting down beside," from upa "near to" (see up) + ni-shad "to sit or lie down."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper