Di·​wa·​li | \ də-ˈwä-lē How to pronounce Diwali (audio) , -ˈvā- \
variants: or less commonly Divali or Dewali
plural Diwalis or Divalis or Dewalis

Definition of Diwali

: a Hindu festival of lights held late in October Candlelight and lanterns are traditional beacons of autumn and winter for many cultures – from Diwali to Christmas to Hanukkah – as communities usher in longer nights.— Leeta-Rose Ballester

First Known Use of Diwali

1698, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Diwali

borrowed from Hindi dīvālī, divālī, going back to Middle Indo-Aryan dīvālī-, dīvāvalī-, going back to Sanskrit dīpāvaliḥ "row of lights, the Diwali festival," from dīpaḥ "lamp, light" (noun extracted from dīpayati "[s/he] sets alight, lights, illuminates," causative derivative from the base of dī́deti "[it] shines, is bright") + āvaliḥ "row, line" (of uncertain origin) — more at psychedelic entry 1

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The first known use of Diwali was in 1698

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Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Diwali.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Diwali. Accessed 27 January 2020.

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