[tuhn-truh, tan-]
  1. (italics) Hinduism. any of several books of esoteric doctrine regarding rituals, disciplines, meditation, etc., composed in the form of dialogues between Shiva and his Shakti; Agama.
  2. Also called Tan·trism [tuhn-triz-uh m, tan-] /ˈtʌn trɪz əm, ˈtæn-/. the philosophy or doctrine of these books, regarding the changing, visible world as the creative dance or play of the Divine Mother and regarding enlightenment as the realization of the essential oneness of one's self and of the visible world with Shiva-Shakti, the Godhead: influential in some schools of Mahayana Buddhism, especially in Tibet.

Origin of Tantra

From Sanskrit
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Historical Examples of tantrism

British Dictionary definitions for tantrism


  1. a movement within Hinduism combining magical and mystical elements and with sacred writings of its own
  2. a similar movement within Buddhism
Derived FormsTantrist, noun

Word Origin for Tantrism

C18: from Sanskrit tantra, literally: warp, hence, doctrine


  1. Hinduism Buddhism the sacred books of Tantrism, written between the 7th and 17th centuries ad, mainly in the form of a dialogue between Siva and his wife

Word Origin for Tantra

C18: from Sanskrit: warp, hence underlying principle, from tanoti he weaves
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 tantrism



type of Hindu religious book, 1799, from Sanskrit tantram, literally "loom, warp," hence "groundwork, system, doctrine," from tan "to stretch, extend," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch, extend" (see tenet).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper