• synonyms


  1. Hinduism. a collection of aphorisms relating to some aspect of the conduct of life.
  2. Pali sut·ta [soo t-uh] /ˈsʊt ə/. Buddhism. any of the sermons of Buddha.
  3. one of the approximately 4000 rules or aphorisms that constitute Panini's grammar of Sanskrit.
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Origin of sutra

First recorded in 1795–1805, sutra is from the Sanskrit word sūtra
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sutra

Historical Examples of sutra

  • One called 'Jayamangla' or 'Sutrabashya,' and the other 'Sutra vritti.'

    The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana


  • Sutra recitation and incantation were ceaselessly performed at Court.

  • Again the reading of the sutra began, the intonation of the nembutsu.

  • I will ascend that rock; read the sutra of the Lady Kwannon.

  • A sutra was recited over the body of the insect, and it was duly buried in the temple grounds.

    Myths & Legends of Japan

    F. Hadland (Frederick Hadland) Davis

British Dictionary definitions for sutra


  1. Hinduism Sanskrit sayings or collections of sayings on Vedic doctrine dating from about 200 ad onwards
  2. (modifier) Hinduism
    1. of or relating to the last of the Vedic literary periods, from about 500 to 100 bcthe sutra period
    2. of or relating to the sutras or compilations of sutras of about 200 ad onwards
  3. Buddhism collections of dialogues and discourses of classic Mahayana Buddhism dating from the 2nd to the 6th centuries a.d
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Word Origin for sutra

C19: from Sanskrit: list of rules
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 sutra



"series of aphorisms," 1801, from Sanskrit sutram "rule," literally "string, thread" (as a measure of straightness), from sivyati "sew;" cognate with Latin suere "to sew" (see sew). Applied to rules of grammar, law, philosophy, etc., along with their commentaries.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper