Definitions

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

  • n. Hinduism & Buddhism The total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person's existence, regarded as determining the person's destiny.
  • n. Fate; destiny.
  • n. Informal A distinctive aura, atmosphere, or feeling: There's bad karma around the house today.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The concept of "action" or "deed" in Indian and Nepalese religions understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect (i.e., the cycle called samsara) described in the dharmic traditions, namely: Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist philosophies. The total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of his existence, regarded as determining his next incarnation.
  • n. A distinctive feeling, aura, or atmosphere.
  • n. The idea that one reaps what one sows; destiny; fate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One's acts considered as fixing one's lot in the future existence.
  • n. The doctrine of fate as the inflexible result of cause and effect, especially the principle by which a person is rewarded or punished in a subsequent incarnation for deeds in the previous incarnation; the theory of inevitable consequence.
  • n. One's destiny; fate.
  • n. The supposed non-physical emanations that a person gives off, which may affect other people; vibrations.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Hindu religion, one's action or acts considered as determining his lot after death and in a following existence; the aggregate of merits and demerits of a sentient being in one of his successive existences.
  • n. In theosophy: The doctrine of fate, destiny, or necessity as an invariable sequence of cause and effect; the theory of inevitable consequence, In the concrete, the result of one's actions; that which happens to one for better or worse, in matters over which one may exercise any choice or volition.

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

  • n. (Hinduism and Buddhism) the effects of a person's actions that determine his destiny in his next incarnation

Etymologies

Sanskrit, deed, action that has consequences, karma.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Loan from Sanskrit कर्मन् (kárman, "act, action, performance"), first attested in English in 1827. (Wiktionary)

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