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 MUD
2. [CMU, Tektronix] root
. 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.