Ma·​ha·​ya·​na ˌmä-hə-ˈyä-nə How to pronounce Mahayana (audio)
: a liberal and theistic branch of Buddhism comprising sects chiefly in China and Japan, recognizing a large body of scripture in addition to the Pali canon, and teaching social concern and universal salvation compare theravada
Mahayanist noun or adjective
Mahayanistic adjective

Word History


Sanskrit mahāyāna, literally, great vehicle

First Known Use

1855, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Mahayana was in 1855

Dictionary Entries Near Mahayana

Cite this Entry

“Mahayana.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

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