Definition of lama in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlɑːmə/


1An honorific title applied to a spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism, whether a reincarnate lama or one who has earned the title in life.
Example sentences
  • Both Hindus and Buddhists cremate their dead, except for important lamas (Buddhist spiritual leaders), who are buried.
  • The local lama (Buddhist spiritual leader) is informed of the birth and the time that it occurred.
  • Even if we obtain teachings from such people, they cannot be regarded as spiritual masters or lamas.
2A Tibetan or Mongolian Buddhist monk.
Example sentences
  • Ricard, himself a Buddhist lama, is the French translator for the Dalai Lama and has photographed life in Tibet and Nepal for 30 years.
  • So the ceremony actually involved five monks - it involved a Sri Lankan monk, a Burmese monk, a Thai monk, a Tibetan lama and an Australian monk.
  • Inner Mongolia, like Tibet, is an Autonomous Region of China, and during the Cultural Revolution the Mongolian lamas were forbidden to practice their religion or wear their robes.


Mid 17th century: from Tibetan bla-ma (the initial b being silent), literally 'superior one'.

  • This honorific title applied to a spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism is from Tibetan bla-ma (the initial b remaining silent); the literal meaning is ‘superior one’.

Words that rhyme with lama

amah, armour (US armor), Atacama, Brahma, Bramah, charmer, cyclorama, dharma, diorama, disarmer, drama, embalmer, farmer, Kama, karma, llama, Matsuyama, panorama, Parma, pranayama, Rama, Samar, Surinamer, Vasco da Gama, Yama, Yokohama

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: lama

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