Diwali

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Diwali

Statistics for Diwali

Cite this Entry

“Diwali.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Diwali. Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Comments on Diwali

What made you want to look up Diwali? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!