bin·​di | \ ˈbin-dē How to pronounce bindi (audio) \
plural bindis

Definition of bindi

: a mark (such as a red dot) or piece of jewelry worn on the middle of the forehead especially by Hindu women On the morning of my belated return visit, an elegant matron with a jewelled bindi … gave me directions to a few of her favorite shops …— Judith Thurman, New Yorker, 13 Dec. 2004 … has had to put aside the traditional Indian saris she adores and wear Western-style dress in public instead … . She has even abandoned her bindi—the small cosmetic dot worn on the forehead of most Indian women.— Michel Marriott, New York Times, 12 Oct. 1987 The current tenant, the beautiful and mysterious Maya Vanasi, has Jefferson spellbound. He is entranced by the red dot, or bindi, painted on her forehead, which she explains is a symbolic third eye, representing wisdom, or “the window to the soul.”Publishers Weekly, 10 Jan. 2000

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.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of bindi

1872, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bindi

borrowed from Hindi bindī, literally, “dot, mark” (or a cognate Indo-Aryan word), going back to the Middle Indo-Aryan and Sanskrit stem bindu- “drop, spot”

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bindi

Statistics for bindi

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bindi

The first known use of bindi was in 1872

See more words from the same year

Comments on bindi

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


miscellaneous remnants or debris

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!