Dalai Lama

[dah-lahy lah-muh]


(formerly) the ruler and chief monk of Tibet, believed to be a reincarnation of Avalokitesvara and sought for among newborn children after the death of the preceding Dalai Lama.

Compare Tashi Lama.

Origin of Dalai Lama

< Mongolian, equivalent to dalai ocean + lama a celibate priest
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dalai lama

Historical Examples of dalai lama

  • After his death, this title was given to the Dalai-Lama of Thibet.

  • The Dalai-Lama is evidently an energetic and well-intentioned man.

  • Dalai-Lama, chief priest of Lamaism, reverenced as a living incarnation of deity, always present on earth in him.

    The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

    Edited by Rev. James Wood

  • The present Dalai-Lama has now, at the age of twenty-one or twenty-two, attained his majority.

  • This could only be done by addressing themselves to the great head of their religion, the Dalai-Lama of Tibet.

British Dictionary definitions for dalai lama

Dalai Lama


(until 1959) the chief lama and ruler of Tibet
born 1935, the 14th holder of this office (1940), who fled to India (1959): Nobel peace prize 1989

Word Origin for Dalai Lama

from Mongolian dalai ocean; see lama
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 dalai lama

Dalai Lama

literally "the Ocean Lama," from Mongolian dalai "ocean" + lama.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper