dhar·​ma | \ˈdər-mə, ˈdär- \

Definition of dharma 

1 Hinduism : an individual's duty fulfilled by observance of custom or law

2 Hinduism & Buddhism

a : the basic principles of cosmic or individual existence : divine law

b : conformity to one's duty and nature

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from dharma

dharmic \ -​mik \ adjective

Examples of dharma in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Wochit Tonen O’Connor's life has been a mix of drama and dharma. Crocker Stephenson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Better Angels: Buddhist priest uses theater background to put prisons on center stage," 19 Mar. 2018 Run by 11 resident Buddhist monks, longtime staff and volunteers, the temple is open daily for prayers, regular religious ceremonies, ancestral chanting, dharma talks and meditation retreats. Kai Oliver-kurtin, USA TODAY, "Eight ways to experience Asia in Vancouver," 15 Feb. 2018 The faith focuses on salvation through total devotion, or bhakti, to God as developed through the virtues (dharma), detachment (vairagaya) and spiritual wisdom (jnana). Jonathan M. Pitts, baltimoresun.com, "A birthday for the gods," 4 July 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of dharma

1796, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dharma

Sanskrit; akin to Latin firmus firm

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dharma

Statistics for dharma

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dharma

The first known use of dharma was in 1796

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on dharma

See words that rhyme with dharma

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dharma

Comments on dharma

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


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!