from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The incarnation of a Hindu deity, especially Vishnu, in human or animal form.
- n. An embodiment, as of a quality or concept; an archetype: the very avatar of cunning.
- n. A temporary manifestation or aspect of a continuing entity: occultism in its present avatar.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. In Hinduism the incarnation of a deity, particularly Vishnu.
- n. The physical embodiment of an idea or concept; a personification.
- n. A digital representation or handle of a person or being; often, it can take on any of various forms, as a participant chooses. i.e. 3D, animated, photo, sketch
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The descent of a deity to earth, and his incarnation as a man or an animal; -- chiefly associated with the incarnations of Vishnu.
- n. An incarnation, embodiment or personification of a principle, quality, or attitude; -- used of people, mostly in a positive sense as a manifestation of a behavior or character worthy of admiration.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In Hindu myth., the descent of a deity to the earth in an incarnate form or some manifest shape; the incarnation of a god.
- n. Hence A remarkable appearance, manifestation, or embodiment of any kind; a descent into a lower sphere; an adorable or wonderful exhibition of an abstract idea, principle, etc., in concrete form: as, “The Irish Avatar” (a poem by Byron on a visit of George IV. to Ireland); “the avatar of mathematics,”
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a new personification of a familiar idea
- n. the manifestation of a Hindu deity (especially Vishnu) in human or superhuman or animal form
Sanskrit avatāraḥ, descent (of a deity from heaven), avatar : ava, down + tarati, he crosses; see terə-2 in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1784, from Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu) अवतार / اوتار (avatār), from Sanskrit अवतार (ava-tāra, "descent of a deity from a heaven"), a compound of अव (ava, "off, away, down") and the vṛddhi-stem of the root √tṝ ("to cross"). (Wiktionary)