kar·​ma | \ ˈkär-mə also ˈkər- How to pronounce karma (audio) \

Definition of karma

1 often capitalized : the force generated by a person's actions held in Hinduism and Buddhism to perpetuate transmigration and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person's next existence Each individual is born with karma, the residual from past lives that must be resolved …— Diane Goldner broadly : such a force considered as affecting the events of one's life Claude says, "You reap what you sow." I call this idea karma, that what goes around comes around. — Anthony Walton I figured I needed all the good karma I could get if I was serious about winning Noah's heart. — Robin Palmer
2 : a characteristic emanation, aura, or spirit that infuses or vitalizes someone or something … he wrote a book entitled Maverick in which he talked about his drug use and his teammates' karma— Sam Smith Graffiti on the walls of trains or subway stations create bad karma.— Ed Koch

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Other Words from karma

karmic \ ˈkär-​mik How to pronounce karmic (audio) also  ˈkər-​ \ adjective

Examples of karma in a Sentence

She believes that helping people produces good karma. as the site of a string of failed businesses, the building definitely had bad karma
Recent Examples on the Web My years of good travel karma with luggage and rental cars had come to an abrupt and rude end. Christopher Muther, BostonGlobe.com, "Our travel writer had so much bad luck on a recent trip, he cried on a sidewalk," 12 June 2019 Credit Aaron Rodgers’ good karma for donating 354 helmets to high schools in Chico, Paradise and his alma mater Paradise Valley. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "NFL picks, Week 1: Packers win first; 49ers, Raiders go opposite ways," 5 Sep. 2019 In fact, Grange halls seem to have a preservationist karma. David Lyon, BostonGlobe.com, "Simpler, gentler: A journey through the eastern N.H. hinterlands," 13 Aug. 2019 But apparently the thief still had some good karma left. Leah Asmelash And Jeanne Bonner, CNN, "Karma caught up to this ketchup thief. Now, Heinz is helping the thief out," 10 Aug. 2019 But as Korematsu and Dred Scott illustrate, the pursuit of political ends through judicial means will often and ironically bring about a far worse result than anticipated—a sort of constitutional karma. Neil M. Gorsuch, Time, "Justice Neil Gorsuch: Why Originalism Is the Best Approach to the Constitution," 6 Sep. 2019 Among their beliefs, Hindus believe in the doctrines of samsara, the continuous cycle of life, death and reincarnation, and karma, the universal law of cause and effect. Elaine Ingalls, The Mercury News, "Santa Cruz County company removes ‘highly inappropriate’ Lord Ganesh socks at Hindi community’s request," 30 July 2019 The desire for cash over karma is understandable: Munce’s base pay is $2.83 an hour. Alana Semuels, Time, "Low Wages, Sexual Harassment and Unreliable Tips. This Is Life in America’s Booming Service Industry," 22 Aug. 2019 Now, with Mercury doing an instant karma thing in your fame house, is the time to indulge yourself. SFChronicle.com, "Minerva’s horoscope for week of July 28," 28 July 2019

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

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First Known Use of karma

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for karma

Sanskrit karma fate, work

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More Definitions for karma


How to pronounce karma (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of karma

: the force created by a person's actions that is believed in Hinduism and Buddhism to determine what that person's next life will be like
informal : the force created by a person's actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to that person

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Comments on karma

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


to spread as a report or rumor

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