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

Leopards, like all wildlife in India, are protected by law—a reflection, in theory at least, of the Hindu tenet of ahimsa, or non-violence. National Geographic, "This Indian community welcomes leopards," 22 Mar. 2019 The organizers say this year's theme is 'ahimsa' or non-violence. CNN, "Yogis take over Times Square," 22 June 2017

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.

First Known Use of ahimsa

1875, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ahimsa

Sanskrit ahiṁsā noninjury

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Last Updated

22 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for ahimsa

The first known use of ahimsa was in 1875

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More from Merriam-Webster on ahimsa

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ahimsa

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ahimsa

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showing courage and determination

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