noun, often capitalized
nir·​va·​na | \ nir-ˈvä-nə How to pronounce nirvana (audio) , (ˌ)nər- \

Definition of nirvana

1 : the final beatitude (see beatitude sense 1a) that transcends suffering, karma, and samsara and is sought especially in Buddhism through the extinction of desire and individual consciousness
2a : a place or state of oblivion to care, pain, or external reality alcohol-induced nirvana also : bliss, heaven The resort is a skier's and snowboarder's nirvana.
b : a goal hoped for but apparently unattainable : dream … that nirvana of the … weatherman: A foolproof system of forecasting.Newsweek

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from nirvana

nirvanic \ nir-​ˈvä-​nik How to pronounce nirvanic (audio) , -​ˈva-​ , (ˌ)nər-​ \ adjective

Examples of nirvana in a Sentence

the spa experience was a week of pure nirvana the popular fantasy that life as a beachcomber in the South Pacific would be never-ending nirvana
Recent Examples on the Web Stunning sound quality with 9 hours of playback on one charge and 45 hours worth of charge provided by the accompanying case mean you’ll be ensconced in audio nirvana without interruption. Popular Science, "The best-sounding in-ear headphones," 25 June 2020 Ann wrote about the broiler as your best path to shrimp nirvana. The Washington Post, "Free Range on Food: We're here to answer all your cooking questions and what to do with sourdough discard, bread baking, this week's recipes and more!," 27 May 2020 The combination might be nirvana: Just enough hot to balance just enough cool. Dallas News, "Cool Ranch: Recipes for waffles, braised chicken, latkes and Bloody Marys with a tangy twist," 22 May 2020 The idea, promoted by the Japanese and European central banks, that reducing countries’ borrowing costs to less than zero would be economic nirvana, was totally nuts. Allan Sloan, Washington Post, "Boeing is the business turkey of 2019 for its short cuts and safety lapses," 26 Nov. 2019 Let’s face it, creating a sublimely moist, flavorful chicken with crispy skin is culinary nirvana. Robin Miller, azcentral, "Here's a foolproof recipe for roasting a perfect whole chicken," 27 Oct. 2019 Beyond those bollards is a small urban nirvana: food trucks sell every type of global cuisine, people sit eating lunch at patio tables or drifting along the pavement, talking on their cell phones. Rachel Swan,, "Advocates oppose parking garage that would bring car traffic to Transbay plaza," 15 Jan. 2020 So the Munich Security Conference is not merely think-tank nirvana. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "'Westlessness' in Munich: A preview of topics on tap at annual security conference," 14 Feb. 2020 The Big Cheese Festival at Jungle Jim’s Fairfield is your nirvana. Luann Gibbs,, "Things to do in Cincinnati this week: Feb. 3-9," 3 Feb. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of nirvana

1829, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nirvana

Sanskrit nirvāṇa, literally, act of extinguishing, from nis- out + vāti it blows — more at wind entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nirvana

Time Traveler for nirvana

Time Traveler

The first known use of nirvana was in 1829

See more words from the same year

Statistics for nirvana

Last Updated

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nirvana.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nirvana


How to pronounce nirvana (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nirvana

: the state of perfect happiness and peace in Buddhism where there is release from all forms of suffering
: a state or place of great happiness and peace

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on nirvana

What made you want to look up nirvana? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!