avatar

[av-uh-tahr, av-uh-tahr]
noun
1.
Hindu Mythology. the descent of a deity to the earth in an incarnate form or some manifest shape; the incarnation of a god.
2.
an embodiment or personification, as of a principle, attitude, or view of life.
3.
Digital Technology. a graphical image that represents a person, as on the Internet.
4.
Also called avatar mouse,, mouse avatar. a mouse that is implanted with cells or tissue freshly extracted from a human being, as to test drug therapies for an individual patient or to study a disease process: Researchers transplanted samples of the patient’s tumor into specially bred avatars.
5.
(in science fiction) a hybrid creature, composed of human and alien DNA and remotely controlled by the mind of a genetically matched human being.

Origin:
1775–85; < Sanskrit avatāra a passing down, equivalent to ava down + -tāra a passing over

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
avatar (ˈævəˌtɑː)
 
n
1.  Hinduism the manifestation of a deity, notably Vishnu, in human, superhuman, or animal form
2.  a visible manifestation or embodiment of an abstract concept; archetype
3.  a movable image that represents a person in a virtual reality environment or in cyberspace
 
[C18: from Sanskrit avatāra a going down, from avatarati he descends, from ava down + tarati he passes over]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

avatar
1784, "descent of a Hindu deity," from Skt. avatarana "descent" (of a deity to the earth in incarnate form), from ava- "down" + base of tarati "(he) crosses over." In computer use, it seems to trace to the novel "Snowcrash" (1992) by Neal Stephenson.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
avatar [(av-uh-tahr)]

In Hinduism, a god made visibly present, especially in a human form. The Buddha is considered an avatar of the god Vishnu.

Note: By extension, an “avatar” is any new embodiment of an old idea.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang Dictionary

avatar

n. Syn. [in Hindu mythology, the incarnation of a god]
1. Among people working on virtual reality and cyberspace interfaces, an "avatar" is an icon or representation of a user in a shared virtual reality. The term is sometimes used on MUDs.
2. [CMU, Tektronix] root, superuser. There are quite a few Unix machines on which the name of the superuser account is `avatar' rather than `root'. This quirk was originated by a CMU hacker who found the terms `root' and `superuser' unimaginative, and thought `avatar' might better impress people with the responsibility they were accepting.
FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

avatar definition


1. An image representing a user in a multi-user virtual reality (or VR-like, in the case of Palace) space.
2. (CMU, Tektronix) root, superuser. There are quite a few Unix computers on which the name of the superuser account is "avatar" rather than "root". This quirk was originated by a CMU hacker who disliked the term "superuser", and was propagated through an ex-CMU hacker at Tektronix.
[Jargon File]
(1997-09-14)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
His avatar is a cartoonish rendering of his face.
When a user thinks about moving his own feet, the avatar walk forward.
Add an avatar that represents you.
In a 3-D marketplace, your avatar's name is your brand.
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