av·​a·​tar | \ ˈa-və-ˌtär How to pronounce avatar (audio) \

Definition of avatar

1 : an electronic image that represents and may be manipulated by a computer user (as in a game)
2 : the incarnation of a Hindu deity (such as Vishnu)
3a : an incarnation in human form
b : an embodiment (as of a concept or philosophy) often in a person She was regarded as an avatar of charity and concern for the poor.
4 : a variant phase or version of a continuing basic entity the latest avatar of the conservative movement

Did you know?

Avatar derives from a Sanskrit word meaning "descent," and when it first appeared in English in the late 18th century, it referred to the descent of a deity to the earth—typically, the incarnation in earthly form of Vishnu or another Hindu deity. It later came to refer to any incarnation in human form, and then to any embodiment (such as that of a concept or philosophy), whether or not in the form of a person. In the age of technology, avatar has developed another sense—it can now be used for the image that a person chooses as his or her "embodiment" in an electronic medium.

Examples of avatar in a Sentence

She has come to be regarded as an avatar of charity and concern for the poor. She chose a penguin as her personal avatar in the chat room.
Recent Examples on the Web Host data centers will contain every environment, object and avatar in the metaverse. Steven Carlini, Forbes, 18 May 2022 The three-minute digital showcase featured eight virtual avatar models in a fantasy world. Maggie Zhou, refinery29.com, 12 May 2022 Enlarge / Sam Worthington reprises his role as Jake Sully, now permanently in his avatar form. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 9 May 2022 Khonshu’s got our explanation: This is our third identity, Jake Lockley, who apparently was not released as Khonshu’s avatar when Steven and Marc were. Lauren Puckett-pope, ELLE, 6 May 2022 Jake remains Khonshu’s avatar, much to the moon god’s delight. Tracy Brownstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2022 May Calamawy’s Layla El-Faouly temporarily agreed to become Taweret’s avatar, turning her into the MCU’s first Egyptian superhero. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 5 May 2022 The reactions to Musk’s new Bored Ape collage avatar from Crypto Twitter were mixed. Taylor Locke, Fortune, 4 May 2022 Alter Ego singing avatar show last year to his guest stint on NBC’s Songland and mentoring stints on X-Factor and The Voice and a role as a coach on The Voice UK this year. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 3 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of avatar

1784, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for avatar

Sanskrit avatāraḥ descent, from avatarati he descends, from ava- away + tarati he crosses over — more at ukase, through entry 1

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Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Avatar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/avatar. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on avatar

Nglish: Translation of avatar for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of avatar for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about avatar


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