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

For a team to win a championship, by necessity everything must go right, from good health to good chemistry to good karma. Dave Sheinin, chicagotribune.com, "Astros hoping to avoid the inevitable World Series hangover: 'We're not the Cubs'," 8 Mar. 2018 The Falcons overcame a late rally from the Barons (19-12), who hoped for some good karma. Matt Szabo, latimes.com, "Erickson powers Crescenta Valley baseball into CIF quarterfinals," 23 May 2018 That guy was responsible for the slaughter of Alejandro’s family, and in a twist of screenplay karma, Alejandro acquires extralegal custody of his enemy’s teenage daughter, Isabel Reyes (Isabela Moner). Taylor Sheridan, New York Times, "Review: ‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’ Blends War Movie and Western," 28 June 2018 Luckily, Meghan has remained entirely unbothered, and is apparently relying on karma to handle things on her behalf. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Why Yes, That is Meghan Markle Duchess of Sussex in a GIF Photobooth at the British Fashion Awards," 11 Dec. 2018 One Louisiana supermarket staffer is being showered in good karma, having received a new car and nearly $130,000 for college after video footage of him letting an autistic shopper help stock coolers went viral online. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Viral Louisiana supermarket employee given a new car," 23 Aug. 2018 Relieves stress for heirs Donating a home can be more than good karma for the donor and his or her family. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "These donors love their alma maters so much they gave them the roofs over their heads," 13 July 2018 There are glimpses, brief moments of more complicated self-reflection from Pusha—guilt, regret, and a fear of what karma might have in store. Josie Duffy Rice, The Atlantic, "The Gospel According to Pusha T," 12 July 2018 Fishing karma surely has a big catch in his future. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Extraordinary musky fishing tale, verified and true, comes to happy ending," 11 July 2018

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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Statistics for karma

Last Updated

1 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for karma

The first known use of karma was in 1827

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More Definitions for karma



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).


using a distributed computer network

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