Definitions

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

  • n. Any of the vernacular and literary Indic languages recorded from the third century B.C. to the fourth century A.D., as opposed to Sanskrit.
  • n. Any of the modern Indic languages.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. any of Middle Indo-Aryan languages, derived from dialects of Old Indo-Aryan languages

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of the popular dialects descended from, or akin to, Sanskrit; -- in distinction from the Sanskrit, which was used as a literary and learned language when no longer spoken by the people. Pali is one of the Prakrit dialects.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The collective name of those dialects which succeed the Sanskrit in the historical development of the language of India.

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

  • n. any of the modern Indic languages
  • n. any of the vernacular Indic languages of north and central India (as distinguished from Sanskrit) recorded from the 3rd century BC to the 4th century AD

Etymologies

Sanskrit prākṛtam, from neuter sing. of prākṛta-, natural, vulgar, vernacular : pra-, before, forward; see per1 in Indo-European roots + karoti, he makes; see Sanskrit.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Sanskrit प्राकृत (prākṛta, "unrefined, natural"). (Wiktionary)

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