pra·​na ˈprä-nə How to pronounce prana (audio)
plural pranas
: a life breath or vital principle in Vedic and later Hindu religion
It's glorious to be in this newbie micro farm, with everything so green and lush and bursting with prana.Valerie Reiss
Eastern philosophy holds that yoga heals by releasing prana, the body's vital energy. When prana is blocked, illness can result. Western practitioners believe yoga's deeply relaxing breath work allows the body's healing abilities to take over.Norine Dworkin

Word History


borrowed from Sanskrit prāṇa- "breath, exhalation, breath of life," derivative from the base of prāṇiti "(she/he) breathes, draws in breath," from pra- "before, forward" + aniti "(she/he) breathes" — more at for entry 1, animate entry 1

First Known Use

1785, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of prana was in 1785

Dictionary Entries Near prana

Cite this Entry

“Prana.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

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