1. [syn: embodiment, incarnation, avatar]
2. the manifestation of a Hindu deity (especially Vishnu) in human or superhuman or animal form;
- Example: "the Buddha is considered an avatar of the god Vishnu"
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Avatar \Av`a*tar"\ ([a^]v`[.a]*t[add]r"), n. [Skr. avat[^a]ra
descent; ava from + root t[.r] to cross, pass over.]
1. (Hindu Myth.) The descent of a deity to earth, and his
incarnation as a man or an animal; -- chiefly associated
with the incarnations of Vishnu.
2. An incarnation, embodiment or personification of a
principle, quality, or attitude; -- used of people, mostly
in a positive sense as a manifestation of a behavior or
character worthy of admiration.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
Martha Stewart, the home-and-hearth avatar whose
products are now available at Kmart stores, is
making upscale design touches like 200-thread-count
cotton bed sheets something that most every American
can aspire to. --Leslie
Kaufman (N. Y.
Times, May 7,
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: a new personification of a familiar idea; "the embodiment
of hope"; "the incarnation of evil"; "the very avatar of
cunning" [syn: embodiment, incarnation, avatar]
2: the manifestation of a Hindu deity (especially Vishnu) in
human or superhuman or animal form; "the Buddha is considered
an avatar of the god Vishnu"
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
81 Moby Thesaurus words for "avatar":
Buddha, Christophany, Jagannath, Juggernaut, Kurma, Matsya,
Narsinh, Parshuram, Rama, Satanophany, Vaman, Varah, angelophany,
apparition, appearance, appearing, arising, catabolism, catalysis,
coming, coming into being, coming-forth, consubstantiation,
disclosure, displacement, dissemination, embodiment, emergence,
epiphany, evidence, evincement, exposure, expression, forthcoming,
heterotopia, incarnation, indication, issuance, manifestation,
materialization, materializing, metabolism, metagenesis,
metamorphism, metamorphosis, metastasis, metathesis,
metempsychosis, mutant, mutated form, mutation, occurrence,
opening, permutation, pneumatophany, presentation, proof,
publication, realization, reincarnation, revelation, rise, rising,
showing, showing forth, sport, theophany, transanimation,
transfiguration, transfigurement, transformation, transformism,
translation, translocation, transmigration, transmogrification,
transmutation, transposition, transubstantiation, unfolding,
V.E.R.A. -- Virtual Entity of Relevant Acronyms (February 2016):
Advanced Video Attribute Terminal Assembler and Recreator (BBS)
The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003):
[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.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (30 December 2018):
1. An image representing a user in a
multi-user virtual reality (or VR-like, in the case of
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