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

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 That's some instant karma for Aneesa, who just got screwed over by Josh. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, "The Challenge: Total Madness recap: Double elimination ends in tears," 2 July 2020 Seems to me that karma caught up with a rapist today. oregonlive, "Camas HS principal put on leave after saying Kobe Bryant’s death was deserved, apologizing," 5 Feb. 2020 Steiner believed in reincarnation and karma, and that children were born in order to fulfill a particular destiny. Alex Van Buren, New York Times, "What Is the Waldorf School Method?," 19 Apr. 2020 In Buddhist traditions, apocalypse comes as a result of collective karma — everyone’s actions toward one another and the world — which means its outcome can change, even in the present circumstance. Elizabeth Dias, New York Times, "The Apocalypse as an ‘Unveiling’: What Religion Teaches Us About the End Times," 2 Apr. 2020 So begins the new feature from the Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden, a parable-like story about the workings of karma and destiny. Devika Girish, New York Times, "‘Jinpa’ Review: Murder and Mystery in Tibet," 20 Feb. 2020 Your only motivation to volunteer is a personal sense of well-being and maybe some good karma. oregonlive, "Why no tax deductions for volunteer time? David Lazarus consumer column," 25 Jan. 2020 Klum believes that bad karma will catch up with non-tippers, but Munce, a single mother who relies on tips to live, doesn’t care much about their fate. Alana Semuels, Time, "Low Wages, Sexual Harassment and Unreliable Tips. This Is Life in America’s Booming Service Industry," 22 Aug. 2019 Call it karma or good living or divine basketball intervention, but Mike Hansen gladly accepts and has made the most of it. Mitch Stephens, SFChronicle.com, "Dougherty Valley-San Ramon boys poised to go a long way," 10 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for karma

Time Traveler

The first known use of karma was in 1827

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Cite this Entry

“Karma.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/karma. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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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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