Definition of mahatma in US English:



  • 1(in South Asia) a person regarded with reverence or loving respect; a holy person or sage.

    • ‘I am only repeating what saints and mahatmas have said in the past.’
    • ‘There have been great saints and mahatmas in the past, who replied thus even to emperors and monarchs.’
    • ‘He resolves ‘to follow the mahatma's call ’, but chooses some unorthodox varieties of Gandhian sacrifice and civil disobedience.’
    • ‘Those whose actions show them to be self-realized are often described as mahatmas or great selves.’
    • ‘India is the birthplace of Hinduism as well as Buddhism, motherland of Sikhs and Jains, the abode of more rishis, sadhus, mahatmas, and maharishis than any place on earth.’
    wise man, wise woman, learned man, learned woman, man of letters, woman of letters, philosopher, scholar, thinker, savant, solomon, nestor, solon
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    1. 1.1 Mahatma Gandhi.
      • ‘However, he was spellbound by the mahatma and remained personally loyal to him.’
      • ‘A life size statue of the Mahatma provides the opportunity for citizens and the world to reflect and learn about both apostles of nonviolence in the same place.’
      • ‘Since the Mahatma uttered those words, world population has doubled to six billion - an annual increase of 90 million people to house and feed!’
      • ‘The Mahatma, a clean man to begin with, hasn't even worn his sandals in more than 50 years.’
    2. 1.2 (in some forms of theosophy) a person in India or Tibet said to have supernatural powers.


From Sanskrit mahātman, from mahā ‘great’ + ātman ‘soul’.