tilak

tilak

[til-uhk]
noun, plural tilak, tilaks.
a distinctive spot of colored powder or paste worn on the forehead by Hindu men and women as a religious symbol.

Origin:
< Sanskrit tilaka

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tilak (ˈtɪlək)
 
n , pl -ak, -aks
a coloured spot or mark worn by Hindus, esp on the forehead, often indicating membership of a religious sect, caste, etc, or (in the case of a woman) marital status
 
[from Sanskrit tilaka]

Tilak (ˈtɪlək)
 
n
Bal Gangadhar (ˈbæl ˈɡæŋədɑː), also called Lokamanya. 1856--1920, Indian nationalist leader, educationalist, and scholar, who founded (1914) the Indian Home Rule League

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tilak

("mark"), in Hinduism, a mark generally made on the forehead, indicating a man's sectarian affiliation. The marks are made by hand or with a metal stamp, using ash from a sacrificial fire, sandalwood paste, turmeric, cow dung, clay, charcoal, or red lead. Among some cults the mark is made on 2, 5, 12, or 32 parts of the body as well as on the forehead. Among Saivas (followers of Siva), the tilak usually takes the form of three horizontal parallel lines across the forehead, with or without a red dot. Sometimes a crescent moon or trident denotes a Saiva. Among Vaishnavas (followers of Vishnu), the many tilak variations follow a general pattern of two or more vertical lines resembling the letter U and representing the foot of Vishnu, with or without a central line or dot

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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