• synonyms


noun Hinduism.
  1. (in later Hinduism) “the Preserver,” the second member of the Trimurti, along with Brahma the Creator and Shiva the Destroyer.
  2. (in popular Hinduism) a deity believed to have descended from heaven to earth in several incarnations, or avatars, varying in number from nine to twenty-two, but always including animals. His most important human incarnation is the Krishna of the Bhagavad-Gita.
  3. “the Pervader,” one of a half-dozen solar deities in the Rig-Veda, daily traversing the sky in three strides, morning, afternoon, and night.
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Origin of Vishnu

From the Sanskrit word viṣṇu
Related formsVish·nu·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for vishnu

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And Brahma gave to this word the name, "Vishnu," that is to say, "he who preserves."

  • Vishnu, the active, traverses the universe with three strides.

    History of Religion

    Allan Menzies

  • Name of Vishnu in his aspect of slayer of the proud demon, Madhu.

    My Reminiscences

    Rabindranath Tagore

  • Thus the Vishnu Swamis of the world have invested the subject with some confusion.

    Vikram and the Vampire

    Richard F. Burton

  • Amongst them, I need hardly say, were the sage Vishnu Swami and his four sons.

    Vikram and the Vampire

    Richard F. Burton

British Dictionary definitions for vishnu


  1. Hinduism the Pervader or Sustainer: originally a solar deity occupying a secondary place in the Hindu pantheon; later one of the three chief gods, the second member of the Trimurti; and, later still, the saviour appearing in many incarnations
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Derived FormsVishnuism, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Sanskrit Viṣṇu, literally: the one who works everywhere
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 vishnu


name of a principal Hindu deity, 1630s, from Sanskrit Vishnu, probably from root vish- and meaning "all-pervader" or "worker."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

vishnu in Culture



A deity of Hinduism, known as the Preserver. According to the Hindus, he has appeared as Krishna and as the Buddha.

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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.