Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Offensive Theravada Buddhism.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. Theravada Buddhism.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a major school of Buddhism teaching personal salvation through one's own efforts.
  • n. one of two great schools of Buddhist doctrine emphasizing personal salvation through one's own efforts; chiefly in Sri Lanka (Ceylon); Myanmar (Burma); Thailand; Cambodia.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an offensive name for the early conservative Theravada Buddhism; it died out in India but survived in Sri Lanka and was taken from there to other regions of southwestern Asia
  • n. a major school of Buddhism teaching personal salvation through one's own efforts

Etymologies

Sanskrit Hīnayānam, lesser vehicle (as contrasted with Mahāyānam, greater vehicle; see Mahayana) : hīna-, inferior; see ghē- in Indo-European roots + yānam, vehicle, way; see ei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Sanskrit हीनयान ("lesser vehicle"). (Wiktionary)

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