Tao

noun
\ ˈdau̇ How to pronounce Tao (audio) , ˈtau̇\

Definition of Tao

1a : the unconditional and unknowable source and guiding principle of all reality as conceived by Taoists
b : the process of nature by which all things change and which is to be followed for a life of harmony
2 often not capitalized : the path of virtuous conduct as conceived by Confucians
3 often not capitalized : the art or skill of doing something in harmony with the essential nature of the thing the Tao of archery

First Known Use of Tao

1736, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for Tao

Chinese (Beijing) dào, literally, way

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Tao

Dictionary Entries near Tao

tanystome

Tanzania

tanzanite

Tao

taoiseach

Taoism

Taormina

Statistics for Tao

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for Tao

The first known use of Tao was in 1736

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for Tao

Tao

noun

English Language Learners Definition of Tao

: the source and guiding principle of all reality according to Taoism

More from Merriam-Webster on Tao

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with Tao

Comments on Tao

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

WORD OF THE DAY

friendly or mild

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!