1 of 2


: a Japanese sect of Mahayana Buddhism that aims at enlightenment by direct intuition through meditation
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


2 of 2


: of, relating to, or associated with Zen Buddhism
a Zen monk/priest/master
: 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
: 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."

Examples of Zen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The Rancho Encantado Four Seasons spa just outside town is a serene escape, replete with billowing white curtains on light plaster, orchids, and a Zen rock and sculpture garden. Alexandra Malmed, Vogue, 8 Nov. 2023 Albuquerque resident Ingrid Coleen Lane went to the Bodhi Manda Zen Center in Jemez Springs for a meditation retreat, ABC affiliate KOAT-TV, NBC affiliate KOB and The Sacramento Bee reported. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 7 Nov. 2023 Find it on Amazon Find Your Zen With The Ultimate Tranquil Egg Chair This chair is an epitome of versatility. Samantha Booth, Rolling Stone, 6 Nov. 2023 Enlarge / Spot the difference between Zen 4 and Zen 4c. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 2 Nov. 2023 This might also block third-party cheat devices like XIM, Cronus Zen, and ReaSnow S1 from working on an Xbox console. Tom Warren, The Verge, 30 Oct. 2023 While studying Zen Buddhism at a monastery in China, Eisai learned of a beverage the other monks drank to help stay alert for meditation: green tea. Charlene Wang De Chen, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Oct. 2023 Animated Skeleton Prop Zen Skeleton Couch Throw Witch Halloween Wreath for Front Door Skeleton on Bike ‘Hocus Pocus’ Halloween Silhouette Yard Signs Animated Skeleton Prop, $49.99 on Amazon Want to be the house that everyone talks about on Halloween? Jené Luciani Sena, Fox News, 25 Oct. 2023 Go Zen With Cloud Watching During the day, search for hidden images in the clouds. Nicole Harris, Parents, 25 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History



Japanese, religious meditation

First Known Use


1727, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1872, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of Zen was in 1727

Dictionary Entries Near Zen

Cite this Entry

“Zen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Zen. Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

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