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Jan 3, 2017
This week’s theme
Words borrowed from Sanskrit

This week’s words
brahmin
avatar
pundit
swami
karma

Radha painting (detail)
Radha, an avatar of goddess Lakshmi (detail)
Art: ISKCON

online avatar
An online avatar
Image: Anandeeta Gurung/Wikimedia

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

avatar

PRONUNCIATION:
(AV-uh-tahr)

MEANING:
noun:
1. An embodiment of a concept.
2. A representation of a person or thing in computers, networks, etc.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Sanskrit avatar (descent, as of a god from heaven to the earth), from ava- (away) + tarati (he crosses). Ultimately from the Indo-European root terə- (to cross over or pass through, to overcome), which also gave us through, thorough, transient, nostril, and thrill. Earliest documented use: 1784.

USAGE:
“The president is our national avatar -- a stand-in for what we believe we are, or want to be.”
Joy-Ann Reid; Surviving Trump’s Reality Show; The Daily Beast (New York); Dec 17, 2016.

See more usage examples of avatar in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him. -J.R.R. Tolkien, novelist and philologist (3 Jan 1892-1973)

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