na·​mas·​te ˈnä-mə-stā How to pronounce namaste (audio) ˈnə- How to pronounce namaste (audio)
plural namastes
: an expression of respectful greeting performed by placing the palms together, bowing the head slightly, and saying "namaste" and that is used traditionally by Hindus in South Asia
The traditional Indian greeting is the namaste: Raise your hands together toward your chin in a prayerlike position, as you lower your eyes and bow slightly.National Geographic Traveler
More beautiful than the mountainscape were the people: responding with friendly namastes, peering out from their windows and doorways as we passed by.Anker Heegaard
often used interjectionally
Guber opens her eyes. "Thank you all for being such great yogis! Namaste," she says, and the kids answer in unison: "Namaste."Anne-Marie O'Connor

Examples of namaste in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Within the 13 decks, the top one featuring a panoramic glass roof, guests can indulge in body treatments in the Aurōra spa, namaste in the fitness room or, in a sign of the times, practice dinks and firefights on the two onboard pickleball courts. Carole Sovocool, Robb Report, 1 Aug. 2023 During the store opening on Tuesday, Mr. Cook pressed his palms together in a gesture of namaste. Suhasini Raj, New York Times, 18 Apr. 2023 Plenty of communities around the world get by just fine without them, opting instead for, say, the namaste or a hand over the heart. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 18 Jan. 2023 Evidently unsure which gesture best represented him, Boric acknowledged them by placing a hand over his heart, pumping a fist in the air, and clasping his palms together: namaste. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 6 June 2022 Judge Ila Deiss thanked the older white woman for coming by joining her hands namaste style and bowing her head. Deepa Fernandes, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Dec. 2021 The word namaste means, The divine light in me salutes the divine light in you. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 6 Aug. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'namaste.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Sanskrit, "a bow to you," from námaḥ "bow, obeisance" (noun derivative of námate "[s/he] bends, bows, inclines") + te, enclitic dative form of the 2nd-person singular pronoun; námate, going back to an Indo-European verbal base *nem- "bow, bend," whence also Avestan fra … nəmaite "(s/he) bends, flees," Tocharian B namṣäṃ "(s/he) bends (toward)" — more at thou

Note: In regard to an apparently homonymous Indo-European root *nem-, see note at nimble.

First Known Use

1948, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of namaste was in 1948

Dictionary Entries Near namaste

Cite this Entry

“Namaste.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

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