Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun In Hinduism, Buddhism, and certain other East Asian religions, the transitory, manifold appearance of the sensible world, which obscures the undifferentiated spiritual reality from which it originates; the illusory appearance of the sensible world.
  • noun Hinduism The power of a god or demon to transform a concept into an element of the sensible world.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In Hindu mythology: Illusion or deceptive appearance.
  • noun [capitalized] Such appearance personified as a female who acts a part in the production of the universe, and is considered to have only an illusory existence.
  • Of or pertaining to the Mayas, an aboriginal tribe of Yucatan, distinguished for their civilization and as the possessors of an alphabet and a literature when America was discovered: as, the Maya alphabet; the Maya records.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • proper noun the Indian people occupying the area of Veracruz, Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, and Yucatan, together with a part of Guatemala and a part of Salvador. The Maya peoples are dark, short, and brachycephalic, and at the time of the discovery had attained a higher grade of culture than any other American people. They cultivated a variety of crops, were expert in the manufacture and dyeing of cotton fabrics, used cacao as a medium of exchange, and were workers of gold, silver, and copper. Their architecture comprised elaborately carved temples and palaces, and they possessed a superior calendar, and a developed system of hieroglyphic writing, with records said to go back to about 700 a. d.
  • proper noun the language of the Mayas.

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

  • noun a member of an American Indian people of Yucatan and Belize and Guatemala who had a culture (which reached its peak between AD 300 and 900) characterized by outstanding architecture and pottery and astronomy
  • noun a family of American Indian languages spoken by Maya

Etymologies

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

[Sanskrit māyā.]

Examples

Comments

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  • This word reminds me of Maya Baratz

    January 20, 2008

  • It reminds me of Maya Angelou. Or if I've been playing Phoenix Wright, Maya Fey (of whom I am considerably more of a fan).

    January 22, 2008

  • Also a Sanskrit word referring to "the mistaken belief that a symbol is the same as what it represents."

    August 7, 2008