Definitions

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

  • n. Any of a class of Sanskrit encyclopedic texts containing cosmogonic histories, legends of gods and heroes, and other traditional material.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. Name of an ancient Indian genre (or a group of related genres) of Hindu or Jain literature (as distinct from oral tradition). They are primarily post-Vedic texts containing a narrative of the history of the Universe, from creation to destruction, genealogies of the kings, heroes and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy and geography.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of a class of sacred Hindoo poetical works in the Sanskrit language which treat of the creation, destruction, and renovation of worlds, the genealogy and achievements of gods and heroes, the reigns of the Manus, and the transactions of their descendants. The principal Puranas are eighteen in number, and there are the same number of supplementary books called Upa Puranas.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One of a class of sacred poetical writings in the Sanskrit tongue, which treat chiefly of the creation, destruction, and renovation of worlds, the genealogy and deeds of gods, heroes, and princes, the reigns of the Manus, etc.

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

  • n. a body of 18 works written between the first and 11th centuries and incorporating legends and speculative histories of the universe and myths and customary observances

Etymologies

Sanskrit purāṇam, from neut. of purāṇa-, old, prehistoric, from purā, of old, formerly; see per1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Sanskrit पुराण (purāṇá, "stories of ancient times told in a new manner"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • This word was used in the 2003 Scrabble Championship tournament, which was featured on Cheap Seats. Jason mistook it for a misspelling of piranha.

    January 24, 2012