noun (1)
ma·​ya | \ ˈmä-yə How to pronounce maya (audio) , ˈmī-ə \

Definition of maya

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the sense-world of manifold phenomena held in Vedanta to conceal the unity of absolute being broadly : illusion


noun (2)
Ma·​ya | \ ˈmī-ə How to pronounce Maya (audio) \
plural Maya or Mayas

Definition of Maya (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a Mayan language of the ancient Maya peoples recorded in inscriptions
b : yucatec especially : the older form of that language known from documents of the Spanish period
2 : a member of a group of Indian peoples chiefly of Yucatán, Belize, and Guatemala whose languages are Mayan

Examples of maya in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The shrimp were also the highlight of the salmon maya dish ($16.99), sauteed and layered over a grilled salmon filet. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, 31 Dec. 2019 Circle of fire: The frame around Nataraja is maya, illusion, as experienced through the cyclical phenomenon of birth & death. Harish Pullanoor, Quartz India, 18 Dec. 2019 Regardless, raising octopuses—maya or otherwise—from egg to harvest turns out to be exceedingly difficult. Tik Root, Time, 21 Aug. 2019 Between the gods and mortal men and women there hung a veil, and its name was maya. Salman Rushdie, The New Yorker, 22 July 2019

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

First Known Use of maya

Noun (1)

1788, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1825, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for maya

Noun (1)

Sanskrit māyā

Noun (2)


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Cite this Entry

“Maya.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on maya

Nglish: Translation of maya for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of maya for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about maya


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