Definitions

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

  • n. Hinduism & Buddhism The principle or law that orders the universe.
  • n. Hinduism & Buddhism Individual conduct in conformity with this principle.
  • n. Hinduism & Buddhism The essential function or nature of a thing.
  • n. Hinduism Individual obligation with respect to caste, social custom, civil law, and sacred law.
  • n. Buddhism The body of teachings expounded by the Buddha.
  • n. Buddhism Knowledge of or duty to undertake conduct set forth by the Buddha as a way to enlightenment.
  • n. Buddhism One of the basic, minute elements from which all things are made.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the principle that orders the universe; one's conduct in conformity with such a principle
  • n. one's obligation in respect to one's position in society
  • n. the teachings of the Buddha as one's personal path to enlightenment
  • n. the teachings of the Buddha as a practice to be promulgated and taught.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Established order, usage, custom, rule, duty, virtue, right, law, etc. In Buddhism, the law; the canon. Also dhurma.

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

  • n. basic principles of the cosmos; also: an ancient sage in Hindu mythology worshipped as a god by some lower castes

Etymologies

Sanskrit dharmaḥ, statute, law; see dher- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Sanskrit धर्म (dhárma, "that which upholds or supports"). (Wiktionary)

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