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Feb 9, 2006
This week's theme
Loanwords from Sanskrit

This week's words
dharma
mantra
ahimsa
sutra
nirvana

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sutra

(SOO-truh) Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

noun: A rule or formula; aphorism.

From Sanskrit sutra (thread). Ultimately from Indo-European root syu- or su- (to bind or sew) that is also the source of sew, suture, couture, Kamasutra, and hymen.

"Even in autumn, when the apprentice is desperately agitated, having dragged the world's violence (and its modernity) back to the lake, the old monk is capable of writing down for his student an entire sutra, using as a pen the tail of a remarkably patient cat."
Stuart Klawans; Chronicle of a Disappearance; The Nation (New York); Apr 26, 2004.

See more usage examples of sutra in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

X-Bonus

Humans -- who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals -- have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and "animals" is essential if we are to bend them to our will, wear them, eat them -- without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. -Carl Sagan, astronomer and author (1934-1996) & Ann Druyan, author (1949- ) [Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, 1993]

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