- the power, as of a god, to produce illusions.
- the production of an illusion.
- (in Vedantic philosophy) the illusion of the reality of sensory experience and of the experienced qualities and attributes of oneself.
- (initial capital letter) Also called Mahamaya. a goddess personifying the power that creates phenomena.
Origin of maya
Borrowed into English from Sanskrit around 1815–25
- a member of a major pre-Columbian civilization of the Yucatán Peninsula that reached its peak in the 9th century a.d. and produced magnificent ceremonial cities with pyramids, a sophisticated mathematical and calendar system, hieroglyphic writing, and fine sculpture, painting, and ceramics.
- a member of a modern American Indian people of southern Mexico, Guatemala, and parts of Honduras who are the descendants of this ancient civilization.
- any of the Mayan languages; the historical and modern languages of the Mayas.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for maya
The day we shot that scene, it was her first day on set and Maya Angelou had died that morning.Ava DuVernay on ‘Selma,’ the Racist Sony Emails, and Making Golden Globes History
December 15, 2014
The ancient Maya believed that the underworld of caves was home to gods that controlled rainfall and harvest bounties.The Cave Where Mayans Sacrificed Humans Is Open for Visitors
August 14, 2014
On death row in Sudan last week, Meriam Ibrahim gave birth to a girl, whom she named Maya.Obama Adds Insult to Injury for Sharia-Condemned Young Mother in Sudan
June 4, 2014
We have Maya Rudolph, rather than, say, Tina Fey, headlining an attempt to revive the television variety show.How Barack and Michelle Have Normalized Black Prominence
May 30, 2014
Out of deep injury, Maya Angelou had a way of finding universal hope.Maya Angelou Knew How To Inspire As A Writer, Teacher, and Great Human Being
May 28, 2014
The answer to this in Hindu thought is that the world is due to Maya, illusion.History of Religion
"I've got to pass the course, Mr. Forrester," Maya whispered.
Then there had been (the sigh changed in character) Maya Wilson.
Maya never could make out whether he spoke in fun or in earnest.
The moment Maya awoke, glad sounds greeted her from all round.
- Hinduism illusion, esp the material world of the senses regarded as illusory
C19: from Sanskrit
- the Hindu goddess of illusion, the personification of the idea that the material world is illusory
- Also called: Mayan plural -ya or -yas a member of an American Indian people of Yucatan, Belize, and N Guatemala, having an ancient culture once characterized by outstanding achievements in architecture, astronomy, chronology, painting, and pottery
- the language of this peopleSee also Mayan
Word Origin and History for maya
1822, from the native name. Related: Mayan (1831).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper