Ther·​a·​va·​da ˌther-ə-ˈvä-də How to pronounce Theravada (audio)
: a conservative branch of Buddhism comprising sects chiefly in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia and adhering to the original Pali scriptures alone and to the nontheistic ideal of nirvana for a limited select number compare mahayana

Examples of Theravada in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Within these countries there is a rich diversity of traditions in Theravada Buddhism. Brooke Schedneck, The Conversation, 31 May 2023 The Indian religious influences also are more southern than northern, manifesting in the southern forms of Shaivite Hinduism and Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhism. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 23 July 2011

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Theravada.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Pali theravāda, literally, doctrine of the elders

First Known Use

1836, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Theravada was in 1836

Dictionary Entries Near Theravada

Cite this Entry

“Theravada.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

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