[ dahr-muh, duhr- ]
/ ˈdɑr mə, ˈdʌr- /

noun Hinduism, Buddhism.

essential quality or character, as of the cosmos or one's own nature.
conformity to religious law, custom, duty, or one's own quality or character.
law, especially religious law.
the doctrine or teaching of the Buddha.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for dharma

British Dictionary definitions for dharma


/ (ˈdɑːmə) /


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

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 dharma



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.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper