• synonyms


[dahr-muh, duhr-]
noun Hinduism, Buddhism.
  1. essential quality or character, as of the cosmos or one's own nature.
  2. conformity to religious law, custom, duty, or one's own quality or character.
  3. virtue.
  4. religion.
  5. law, especially religious law.
  6. the doctrine or teaching of the Buddha.
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Origin of dharma

1790–1800; < Sanskrit: custom, duty, akin to dhārayati holds, maintains
Pali dham·ma [duhm-uh] /ˈdʌm ə/.
Related formsdhar·mic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dhamma

Historical Examples of dhamma

  • Only one of them has been translated, the so-called Dhamma Sangani.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 3


  • This meeting recited or compiled a new version of the Dhamma and Vinaya.

  • Asoka burns with zeal to propagate this Dhamma and his language recalls the utterances of the Dhammapada.

  • If this be thought to rest on a mistranslation, it is certainly true that the dhamma had very little to do with devas.

  • This was approved and the Dhamma and Vinaya as chanted by the assembled Bhikkhus were accepted.

British Dictionary definitions for dhamma


  1. Buddhism a variant of dharma
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Word Origin for dhamma

from Pali, from Sanskrit: see dharma


  1. Hinduism social custom regarded as a religious and moral duty
  2. Hinduism
    1. the essential principle of the cosmos; natural law
    2. conduct that conforms with this
  3. Buddhism ideal truth as set forth in the teaching of Buddha
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Word Origin for dharma

Sanskrit: habit, usage, law, from dhārayati he holds
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 dhamma



1796, in secular sense, "caste custom, right behavior;" in Buddhism and Hinduism, "moral law," from Sanskrit, "law, right, justice," related to dharayati "holds," and cognate with Latin firmus, all from PIE root *dher- (2) "to hold firmly, support" (see firm (adj.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper