Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


An ancient Indic language that is the language of Hinduism and the Vedas and is the classical literary language of India.

[Sanskrit saṃskṛtam, from neuter of saṃskṛta-, perfected, refined : sam, together; see sem- in Indo-European roots + karoti, he makes; see kwer- in Indo-European roots.]

San′skrit′ist n.
Word History: Like Latin in Europe and elsewhere, Sanskrit has been used by the educated classes in India for literary and religious purposes for over two thousand years. It achieved this status partly through a standardization that resulted from a long tradition of grammatical theory and analysis. This tradition reached its height around 500 bc in the work of the grammarian Panini, who composed an intricate and complex description of the language in the form of quasi-mathematical rules reminiscent of the rules of generative grammar in modern times. The language thus codified was called saṃskṛtam, "perfected, refined" to distinguish it from prākṛtam the "natural, vulgar" speech of ordinary people. Sanskrit thus became a fixed literary language, while Prakrit continued to develop into what are now the modern spoken languages of northern and central India, such as Hindi and Bengali.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
If we follow the interpretive path brilliantly laid out by the Sanskritist and philosopher of religion Dan Arnold, we find metaphysical assertions at the heart of Madhyamaka.
For Burnell's health and paralysis see Stanley Lane-Poole, "Burnell, Arthur Coke (1840-1882), Sanskritist and Expert on Southern Indian Language and Literature", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online, accessed on June 23, 2018).
It seems that the Sanskritist Rudolf Friederich, who was in the employ of the Royal Society to carry out archaeological and philological research, presented the manuscript of the Dharma Patanjala to his compatriot Karl Schoemann who resided in Bogor and Batavia between 1845 and 1851 when he was tutor to the children of Governor General Rochussen.
By reconstructing the common origins, connected if divergent careers and interests, and the strikingly different personalities and opinions of the Sanskritist John Muir and the Arabist and Islamist William Muir, Powell makes an empirically substantiated argument regarding the complexity of Orientalist scholarship and its fraught relationship with the power dynamics of imperialism.
In his book, Identity and Violence, Amartya Sen explains this phenomenon: "I can be, at the same time, an Asian, an Indian citizen, a Bengali with Bangladeshi ancestry, an American or British resident, an economist, a dabbler in philosophy, an author, a Sanskritist, a strong believer in secularism and democracy, a man, a feminist, a heterosexual, a defender of gay and lesbian rights, with a non-religious lifestyle, from a Hindu background, a non-Brahmin, and a non-believer in an afterlife."
Tropu Lotsawa bided his time until he was able to travel to India and sought out a local Sanskritist. Accompanied by three personal attendants, he studied with Zhang Lotsawa in Tibet.
His training as an epigraphist and Sanskritist was sound though his perspective as a historian was constrained by a number of untested dogmas of the Samshodhan Mandala school of which he was the member-secretary.
A scholar of religion and a Sanskritist who share overlapping interests in history, the history of religion, philosophy, and the field of ethno-Indology combined their efforts to prepare this extraordinary study.
John, the elder, was a Sanskritist. Except for a stint as principal of Sanskrit College (Benares), his career of a district officer was mainly solitary.
Kumarajiva, a great philosopher, son of a Kashmiri Brahmana, Kumarayana and a Kuchean Princess, Jiva, a Sanskritist had an encyclopedic knowledge of Buddhism and Vedic learning.
In that improbably cosmopolitan university town, the intellectually curious teenager befriended a young neighbor interested in the occult and joined him in studying with the Sanskritist and yogi Sylvais Hamati.
The medical historian and Sanskritist Reinhold Friedrich Gustav Muller (1882-1966) wrote prolifically on various aspects of South Asian medicine.