Zen

noun
\ ˈzen How to pronounce Zen (audio) \

Definition of Zen

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a Japanese sect of Mahayana Buddhism that aims at enlightenment by direct intuition through meditation
2 or zen : a state of calm attentiveness in which one's actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort Perhaps that is the zen of gardening—you become one with the plants, lost in the rhythm of the tasks at hand.— Irene Virag

Zen

adjective

Definition of Zen (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or associated with Zen Buddhism a Zen monk/priest/master
2a : suggestive of the teachings or practice of Zen Buddhism Paddling, itself, is a Zen art: Anyone can do it, yet you can spend a lifetime perfecting it.— Jim Albrecht
b : having or showing qualities (such as meditative calmness and an attitude of acceptance) popularly associated with practitioners of Zen Buddhism "I hate to use this word, but Owen is very 'Zen,'" said Rita Nagel, a vice president at Goldman, Sachs. "When some traders start losing money they get nervous. Owen stays very relaxed."

First Known Use of Zen

Noun

1727, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1872, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for Zen

Noun

Japanese, religious meditation

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Cite this Entry

“Zen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Zen. Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for Zen

Zen

noun

English Language Learners Definition of Zen

: a Japanese form of Buddhism that emphasizes meditation

More from Merriam-Webster on Zen

Britannica English: Translation of Zen for Arabic Speakers

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