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mahatma

[muh-haht-muh, -hat-] /məˈhɑt mə, -ˈhæt-/
noun, (sometimes initial capital letter)
1.
a Brahman sage.
2.
(especially in India) a person who is held in the highest esteem for wisdom and saintliness.
3.
(in Theosophy) a great sage who has renounced further spiritual development in order to aid those who are less advanced.
Origin
1850-1855
1850-55; < Sanskrit mahātmā, nominative singular of mahātman high-souled, magnanimous, equivalent to mahā- great + ātman atman
Related forms
mahatmaism, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for mahatmaism

mahatma

/məˈhɑːtmə; -ˈhæt-/
noun (sometimes capital)
1.
(Hinduism) a Brahman sage
2.
(theosophy) an adept or sage
Derived Forms
mahatmaism, noun
Word Origin
C19: from Sanskrit mahātman, from mahā great + ātman soul
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mahatmaism

mahatma

n.

1884, literally "great-souled," from Sanskrit mahatman, from maha "great," from PIE root *meg- "great" (see magnate) + atman, "soul, principle of life," properly "breath" (see atman). In esoteric Buddhism, "a person of supernatural powers." In common use, as a title, a mark of love and respect. Said to have been applied to Gandhi (1869-1948) in 1915 by poet Rabrindranath Tagore.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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