ahimsa

noun
ahim·​sa | \ ə-ˈhim-ˌsä How to pronounce ahimsa (audio) \

Definition of ahimsa

: the Hindu and Buddhist doctrine of refraining from harming any living being

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Did You Know?

Ahimsa has been part of the English language since at least the late 19th century, but the word didn't gain the attention of the English-speaking world until the first half of the 20th century, when it was recognized as an important component of the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. Ahimsa comes from a Sanskrit word meaning "noninjury," and Gandhi's policy of nonviolent protest played a crucial role in the political and social changes that eventually led to India's independence from Britain in 1947.

Examples of ahimsa in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The practice of ahimsa benefits wildlife but can also complicate procedures in animal hospitals. Oliver Whang, New York Times, "Meet the Bird Medics of New Delhi," 10 Feb. 2020 Bono: This invention of India, ahimsa, this is a gift to the world from India and Mahatma Gandhi. Joe Lynch, Billboard, "U2 on the India-Born Concept That Can Help With Today's 'Politics of Fear'," 26 Sep. 2019 According to Raich, yoga class guidelines are undergirded by the concept of ahimsa, one of the five yamas, or moral values, of yoga. The Washington Post, The Know, "The 12 dos and don’ts of yoga class," 7 Sep. 2019 According to Raich, yoga class guidelines are undergirded by the concept of ahimsa, one of the five yamas, or moral values, of yoga. The Washington Post, The Know, "The 12 dos and don’ts of yoga class," 7 Sep. 2019 This explains why ahimsa is the only approach that moves us away from retribution and towards restorative justice. Rajni Bakshi, Quartz India, "If we are naturally violent, why do armies spend so much on training to kill?," 1 Oct. 2019 With all the tensions in India, hold tight to that world, ahimsa. Joe Lynch, Billboard, "U2 on the India-Born Concept That Can Help With Today's 'Politics of Fear'," 26 Sep. 2019 According to Raich, yoga class guidelines are undergirded by the concept of ahimsa, one of the five yamas, or moral values, of yoga. The Washington Post, The Know, "The 12 dos and don’ts of yoga class," 7 Sep. 2019 According to Raich, yoga class guidelines are undergirded by the concept of ahimsa, one of the five yamas, or moral values, of yoga. The Washington Post, The Know, "The 12 dos and don’ts of yoga class," 7 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ahimsa.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ahimsa

1875, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ahimsa

Sanskrit ahiṁsā noninjury

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The first known use of ahimsa was in 1875

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Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ahimsa.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ahimsa. Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on ahimsa

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ahimsa

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ahimsa

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