or man·tram

[man-truh, mahn-, muhn-]


Hinduism. a word or formula, as from the Veda, chanted or sung as an incantation or prayer.
an often repeated word, formula, or phrase, often a truism: If I hear the “less is more” mantra one more time, I'll scream.

Origin of mantra

Borrowed into English from Sanskrit around 1800–10
Related formsman·tric, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mantra

Contemporary Examples of mantra

Historical Examples of mantra

  • A spell or mantra must have accompanied the tying, but this I was not privileged to learn.

    Beast and Man in India

    John Lockwood Kipling

  • Occasionally a mantra is infused with high religious fervour.

    Indian Myth and Legend

    Donald Alexander Mackenzie

  • He repeated a mantra automatically, for his thoughts were elsewhere.

    Caravans By Night

    Harry Hervey

  • Hence it is called the Mantra Sdhan, to distinguish it from other sorts of Sdhans.

    Phallic Miscellanies

    Hargrave Jennings

  • But how shall I know that the mantra which I have learned is equally efficacious?

    Folk-Tales of Bengal

    Lal Behari Day

British Dictionary definitions for mantra



Hinduism any of those parts of the Vedic literature which consist of the metrical psalms of praise
Hinduism Buddhism any sacred word or syllable used as an object of concentration and embodying some aspect of spiritual power

Word Origin for mantra

C19: from Sanskrit, literally: speech, instrument of thought, from man to think
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 mantra

1808, "that part of the Vedas which contains hymns," from Sanskrit mantra-s "sacred message or text, charm, spell, counsel," literally "instrument of thought," related to manyate "thinks," from PIE root *men- "to think" (see mind (n.)). Sense of "special word used for meditation" is first recorded in English 1956.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper