noun Hinduism, Buddhism.

  1. essential quality or character, as of the cosmos or one’s own nature.
  2. conformity to religious law, custom, duty, or one’s own quality or character.
  3. virtue.
  4. religion.
  5. law, especially religious law.
  6. the doctrine or teaching of the Buddha.


  1. Hinduism social custom regarded as a religious and moral duty
  2. Hinduism
    1. the essential principle of the cosmos; natural law
    2. conduct that conforms with this
  3. Buddhism ideal truth as set forth in the teaching of Buddha

1796, in secular sense, “caste custom, right behavior;” in Buddhism and Hinduism, “moral law,” from Sanskrit, “law, right, justice,” related to dharayati “holds,” and cognate with Latin firmus, all from PIE root *dher- (2) “to hold firmly, support” (see firm (adj.)).

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