Definition of avatar in English:



  • 1Hinduism
    A manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth; an incarnate divine teacher.

    • ‘Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana was another major avatar of Vishnu, incarnated in order to rid the world of the demon Ravana.’
    • ‘But it is as Krishna, the eighth avatar, that Vishnu steals hearts and minds.’
    • ‘Worship of Vishnu and his various avatars especially Rama and Krishna in a profoundly devotional form is the basis of Vaishnavism.’
    • ‘The most well-known avatars are Rama, Krishna, who destroyed the wicked and established a new order, Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and Kalki.’
    • ‘Lord Rama is one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu and Ramayana is a story which projects Hindu ideals of life.’
    deity, god, goddess, mother goddess, divine being, celestial being, supreme being
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An incarnation, embodiment, or manifestation of a person or idea.
      ‘he chose John Stuart Mill as the avatar of the liberal view’
      • ‘He was named Time magazine's ‘Person of the Year,’ the avatar of the stricken city.’
      • ‘And it's entertaining to watch avatars of dignity, good order and responsibility call his antics good clean fun and politics as usual.’
      • ‘Its avatars will be the notions of ‘pure’ painting and poetry, reflected, for instance, in Blanchot's view of literature as pure writing, autonomous and disinterested.’
      • ‘Constantly trying to make sense out of an incomplete picture, the private eye is an imperfect avatar, always a few clues short of the whole story.’
      • ‘Both contemporary satirists have really borrowed the idea from the high avatar of absurdism Samuel Beckett.’
      • ‘And since black people are both admired as avatars of American fashion and shunned as objects of American fear, it's difficult for them to know what to put on in the morning, or even feel that it matters.’
      • ‘It is a great irony that university liberals - who advertise themselves as avatars of open-mindedness - have let themselves become censorious and intolerant in these harsh ways.’
      • ‘Both use as starting points the relationships of the protagonists to their personal avatars, iconoclasts who encourage their aversion to the trivial workaday world.’
      • ‘Saussure - or some of his avatars - treat language as occurrent and have thereby assumed both too little and too much.’
      • ‘What made this man, this walking, talking mass of paradox and seeming contradiction, almost the perfect avatar for his age and a thinker whose ideas remain pertinent today?’
      • ‘The date 1920 was perhaps a reference point for the book as it was around then that the earliest avatar of the Indian Institute of Architects; modelled on its counterparts in Europe; was started.’
      • ‘Not that she is complaining about the quantity of time she's spent playing in this uber-popular comedy or thinks she's sharing even the tiniest bit of her stage avatar's personal rut.’
      • ‘In some circumstances, they weren't even alive during the period in which the real-life avatars of their plastic idols actually flourished.’
      • ‘According to the editorial board, it is important to understand that patriotism doesn't mean much of anything in particular, but we can be assured that they themselves are avatars of it.’
      • ‘He has many incarnations, his avatars are everywhere!’
      • ‘Its television and film avatars are heading towards the happening stage.’
      • ‘So suddenly, there I was, surrounded by various lesser-known avatars of the angry and oversimplified.’
      • ‘Unlike Spain or Greece, which had historical grievances against Islam, the Dutch were the avatars of the new liberal Europe, without historical baggage.’
      • ‘Now here it is 2002 and I'm listening to death metal avatars Cannibal Corpse.’
      embodiment, personification, exemplification, type, epitome
      View synonyms
  • 2An icon or figure representing a particular person in a video game, Internet forum, etc.

    ‘conversation is depicted in a balloon over the avatar's head’
    • ‘You control it through an Internet connection and it acts as your avatar, representing you at meetings, grandma's house, or your own home when you're away.’
    • ‘In the future, computer-generated avatars will take over many routine business interactions.’
    • ‘The Sims 2 also jumped onto the bandwagon in perhaps the most spectacular style, allowing its avatars to form same-sex relationships, even at the ‘teenager’ stage.’
    • ‘On a lighter note, that the ghetto has become a contended space can be finally demonstrated by a look at its virtual avatars in cyberspace.’
    • ‘The idea is that the avatar would make websites more accessible to those whose first language is British Sign Language.’
    • ‘The University of East Anglia built a signing avatar - a computer generated person who uses British sign language.’
    • ‘Watching a computer-generated avatar steal cars and run over pedestrians is an odd accompaniment to the mood-massaging music, but undoubtedly an entertaining one.’
    • ‘Perhaps surprisingly, the player ships that represent your avatar in the game lack the same degree of flexibility, although they do have different designs that characterize the cultural styles of each race.’
    • ‘Ordinarily, those present in a chat room use an avatar to represent themselves.’
    • ‘It will take many years to create a video online world as complex as that of The Matrix, where millions of avatars interact in a stunningly realistic simulation of a 20th century big city.’
    • ‘Some concern has risen on the forums related to the avatar, its graphics quality and how it moved.’
    • ‘The first generation of the PC / Internet avatars is getting older and becoming disillusioned with what they've wrought; the Silicon Age, it turns out, is no Golden Age.’
    • ‘So when I was coming up with a name for the avatar that would represent the side of me that rants and whines and makes a lot of noise, I looked beside the computer and there was that damned glass dog.’
    • ‘Services and products being explored include avatar conferencing, avatars for computer games, avatar fashion websites, avatars for next-generation mobile communications and avatar e-mail.’
    • ‘When I started my first Web site I wasn't too sure I wanted to start broadcasting my every thought and opinions, and at the time the idea of avatars was very popular.’
    • ‘In terms of self-representation, the homepage is like a statue carved out of marble labelled carefully at the bottom where the weblog is like an avatar in cyberspace that we wear like a skin.’
    • ‘The gameplay is a sort of 3rd person scrolling shooter, with your avatar floating stationary at the bottom of the screen.’
    • ‘Each server represents 16 acres of virtual space, where users' avatars can live, work and play.’
    • ‘In these places, one picks an avatar (a graphic representation of the self), navigates visually depicted environments, and chats with other individuals.’
    • ‘Similarly, students can program their own avatars to receive, repeat and re-present assigned material as directed.’


From Sanskrit avatāra descent, from ava down + tar- to cross.