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maya

[mah-yah, -yuh] /ˈmɑ yɑ, -yə/
noun, Hinduism.
1.
the power, as of a god, to produce illusions.
2.
the production of an illusion.
3.
(in Vedantic philosophy) the illusion of the reality of sensory experience and of the experienced qualities and attributes of oneself.
4.
(initial capital letter). Also called Mahamaya. a goddess personifying the power that creates phenomena.
Origin
1815-1825
1815-25; < Sanskrit
Related forms
mayan, adjective

Maya

[mah-yuh] /ˈmɑ yə/
noun, plural Mayas (especially collectively) Maya.
1.
a member of a major pre-Columbian civilization of the Yucatán Peninsula that reached its peak in the 9th century a.d. and produced magnificent ceremonial cities with pyramids, a sophisticated mathematical and calendar system, hieroglyphic writing, and fine sculpture, painting, and ceramics.
2.
a member of a modern American Indian people of southern Mexico, Guatemala, and parts of Honduras who are the descendants of this ancient civilization.
3.
any of the Mayan languages; the historical and modern languages of the Mayas.
adjective
4.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for mayas

maya

/ˈmaɪə; ˈmɑːjə; ˈmɑːjɑː/
noun
1.
(Hinduism) illusion, esp the material world of the senses regarded as illusory
Derived Forms
mayan, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Sanskrit

Maya1

/ˈmaɪə; ˈmɑːjə; ˈmɑːjɑː/
noun
1.
the Hindu goddess of illusion, the personification of the idea that the material world is illusory
Derived Forms
Mayan, adjective

Maya2

/ˈmaɪə/
noun
1.
Also called Mayan, (pl) -ya, -yas. a member of an American Indian people of Yucatan, Belize, and N Guatemala, having an ancient culture once characterized by outstanding achievements in architecture, astronomy, chronology, painting, and pottery
2.
the language of this people See also Mayan
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for mayas

Maya

1822, from the native name. Related: Mayan (1831).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mayas in Culture
Mayas [(meye-uhz)]

A Native American people, living in what is now Mexico and northern Central America, who had a flourishing civilization from before the birth of Jesus until around 1600, when they were conquered by the Spanish. The Mayas are known for their astronomical observations, accurate calendars, sophisticated hieroglyphics, and pyramids.

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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