noun ba·hu·vri·hi \ˌbä(ˌ)hüvˈrēhē\

Definition of bahuvrihi



  1. :  a class of compound words whose meanings follow the formula “(one) having a B that is A” where A stands for the first constituent of the compound and B for the second; also :  a compound word belonging to this class (such as graybeard, blockhead, or barefoot) — see 1possessive 1b

Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:

  • 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Origin and Etymology of bahuvrihi

Sanskrit bahuvrīhi, literally, having much rice (a compound of this type), from bahu much + vrīhi rice — more at pachy-, rice

First Known Use: 1846

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up bahuvrihi? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


capable of being understood in two ways

Get Word of the Day daily email!