• synonyms


[oo-pan-i-shad, oo-pah-ni-shahd]
noun Hinduism.
  1. any of a class of speculative prose treatises composed between the 8th and 6th centuries b.c. and first written a.d. c1300: they represent a philosophical development beyond the Vedas, having as their principal message the unity of Brahman and Atman.
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Origin of Upanishad

< Sanskrit upaniṣad, equivalent to upa near + ni- down + -ṣad, sandhi variant of sad- sit1
Related formsU·pan·i·shad·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for upanishads

Historical Examples

  • It was similarly influenced in its origin by the Upanishads.

    Indian Myth and Legend

    Donald Alexander Mackenzie

  • Buddha denied the existence of the Self-Soul of the Upanishads.

    Indian Myth and Legend

    Donald Alexander Mackenzie

  • The essential theme of the Upanishads is the nature of the world-soul.

  • In the Upanishads it is the holy principle which animates nature.

  • This is very clearly enunciated in the philosophy of the Upanishads.

British Dictionary definitions for upanishads


  1. Hinduism any of a class of the Sanskrit sacred books probably composed between 400 and 200 bc and embodying the mystical and esoteric doctrines of ancient Hindu philosophy
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Derived FormsUpanishadic, adjective

Word Origin

C19: from Sanskrit upanisad a sitting down near something, from upa near to + ni down + sīdati he sits
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 upanishads


class of treatises in Sanskrit literature, 1805, from Sanskrit upa-nishad, literally "a sitting down beside," from upa "near to" (see up) + ni-shad "to sit or lie down."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

upanishads in Culture


[(ooh-pah-nuh-shahdz, ooh-pan-uh-shadz)]

A group of writings sacred in Hinduism concerning the relations of humans, God, and the universe.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.