Definition of koan
: a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment
Recent Examples of koan from the Web
In the process, antidisestablishmentarianism became the longest non-technical word in the English language—and a nebulous koan with which to shake a fist against the Man.
For a growing number of high-profile tech executives, koans like that are becoming a deep part of their daily rituals – and their business models – through the practice of Zen Buddhism.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'koan.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of koan
Japanese kōan, from kō public + an proposition
First Known Use: 1945See Words from the same year
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