ash·​ram ˈäsh-rəm How to pronounce ashram (audio)
ˈash-ˌram How to pronounce ashram (audio)
: a secluded dwelling of a Hindu sage
also : the group of disciples instructed there
: a religious or spiritual retreat

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Ashram first appeared in English in the early 1900s and gained traction after Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi founded his famous ashrams at Sabarmati near Ahmadabad and at Sevagram near Wardha. The word ashram derives from a Sanskrit word, "srama," which means "religious exertion." Later in the 20th century, English speakers broadened the term "ashram" to encompass any sort of religious retreat, regardless of denomination. In addition to practicing yoga and meditation, attendees may also receive instruction from a religious teacher and do some type of manual or mental work during their stay at the ashram.

Examples of ashram in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Dlamini, 27, was born in Los Angeles and spent time as a child with her mother at an ashram led by jazz musician Alice Coltrane. Harper's BAZAAR, 16 Aug. 2023 The Sullivanians adhered to the same principles and traditions as many of the ashrams and rural intentional communities of the era: polyamory, communal living, group parenting, socialist politics. Jessica Winter, The New Yorker, 14 June 2023 His Dera Sacha Sauda group has ashrams – places of worship – across 10 states and union territories in India, and claims to have 60 million followers worldwide. Manveena Suri, CNN, 22 Feb. 2023 While finishing his three-year degree, Mr. Shetty split his time off between interning at finance firms in London and training at an ashram in Mumbai under Gauranga Das. Alisha Haridasani Gupta, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2023 But after six weeks at the ashram the spaces between my thoughts did grow wider. Sara Novak, Discover Magazine, 1 July 2021 Current Town: Aubrey Jonathon Thunderwood and his wife, Triptta, live in a religious community called an ashram that is dedicated to lifelong learning, spiritual awakening and community service. Dallas News, 31 Mar. 2022 All the other people that were there at the ashram were very sweet and respectful to the Beatles. Jordan Runtagh, Peoplemag, 10 Nov. 2022 From his adolescent years at an ashram in India, Sri Chinmoy was an advocate for world peace. Ben Pryor, Outside Online, 13 Oct. 2022

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

Word History


Sanskrit āśrama, from śrama religious exercise

First Known Use

1835, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ashram was in 1835


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Cite this Entry

“Ashram.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

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