Definition of lingam in US English:


(also linga)


  • A symbol of divine generative energy, especially a phallus or phallic object worshiped as a symbol of Shiva.

    Compare with yoni
    • ‘We reach the upper level; there are more flowers here, placed near a lingam in an alcove.’
    • ‘In the same area we find the Raghunath temple with icons of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman, Radha and Krishna, with 51 Shiva lingas and 34 Saalgraams.’
    • ‘Peering over the railings, the Venkatramans jostled to catch a glimpse of the earthen lingam at the shadowy heart of the sanctuary.’
    • ‘Fifty thousand devotees praying to the lingam and weeping passionately with hands clasped around their necks were massacred in cold blood.’
    • ‘At the feast for Shiva, for example, villagers prepare a huge, steamed rice cake made in the shape of a lingam (Shiva's phallic symbol) and stuffed with cheese, molasses, and coconut.’
    • ‘The deity was a lingam, the abstract phallic symbol which is the most common representation of Shiva.’
    • ‘When he did not return, Sita quickly made a lingam and Ram installed it.’
    • ‘The lingam is a symbol of Shiva, though the word has the broader meaning of ‘sign’.’
    • ‘Gradually, we recognise this as an optical illusion: the linga and yoni are, in fact, the solid-painted negative spaces between interlacing torsos; we see now one, now the other element of the pattern.’
    • ‘He noted that wherever there was room for one more lingam, a lingam was there.’
    • ‘This lingam diminishes gradually as the moon wanes and increases as the moon grows.’
    • ‘In consideration of non - Hindu guests, his father had made certain that his mother's brass deities and stone lingams stayed confined in the closed-off worship-room.’
    • ‘The altar's focal point on Sivaratri is the lingam, Lord Siva represented as a simple rounded stone.’
    • ‘The relation between icon and ruler is particularly well documented for the Shiva linga, whose looting, display, and desecration clearly carried a powerful political message, even if framed within the context of orthodox conformity.’
    • ‘The man and woman stand entwined in a state of divine ecstasy that has no beginning and no end, her legs wrapped round his waist, his stout linga pleasuring her yoni, the fountain of life caught for eternity at the source of all that exists.’
    • ‘His phallus, or lingam, enshrined in most Hindu temples, is worshipped and revered by the world's 300 million followers of the Hindu religion.’
    • ‘Some worship stones, borne on their heads; some hang lingams from their necks.’
    • ‘Another spot called ‘Rameshwaram’, around 20 km from Bundi, has yet another fall; its water spills on a Shiv linga.’
    • ‘In particular, Hinduism and the lingam, or phallic symbol associated with the god Siva, are highlighted.’
    • ‘In Shiavite temples what is more common than a statue of Shiva is a stone linga, usually with a yoni (the vulva).’


From Sanskrit liṅga, literally ‘mark, (sexual) characteristic’.