The Meaning of Avatar: What It Is and How To Use It

Avatar isn’t just a popular movie or a beloved cartoon. Read on to find out the true meaning of avatar and how to use it in a sentence today.

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Have you ever used the word avatar? Avatar has a storied history and more definitions than you may think! Keep reading to learn all about the meaning of the word avatar, how to use avatar in a sentence, and more!

What Does the Word Avatar Mean?

According to Dictionary, avatar is a noun with numerous potential meanings. The pronunciation of avatar is ˌæv əˈtɑr.

First, avatar can refer to any personification or embodiment of a principle, belief, or point of view. This idea comes from the Hindu religion, in which deities are thought to come to Earth in an incarnate form.

The word avatar refers to a graphic representation of a person’s digital account in the modern day. People can also use it in the video game world to refer to the character that a person designs or chooses to play as their stand-in. 

Often, social media sites will have people choose an avatar; this can be a preapproved image that is embedded into the site or an image that the person uploads. 

Additionally, in lab testing, an avatar mouse or mouse avatar is an experimental mouse that scientists implant with human tissue or cells to test drug therapies or the process of a disease. 

Avatars in Hindu Mythology

According to Britannica, the word avatar (ˈævəˌtɑr) most often refers to the ten appearances of the god Vishnu in Hinduism. Vishnu can appear as any of the below avatars:

  • Krishna: The divine cowherd
  • Narasimha: Half man, half lion
  • Rama: Hero of a Ramayana epic
  • Kalki: The incarnation yet to come
  • Matsya: A fish
  • Vamana: A dwarf
  • Buddha: The Buddha
  • Parashurama: Rama with the ax
  • Varaha: Boar
  • Kurma: Tortoise

An avatar can refer to any human form or animal form of a deity. This incarnation of a God can take many different shapes. Sometimes, people also include Vishnu’s half-brother in the list of avatars.

What Is the Etymology of Avatar?

The word avatar comes from the Sanskrit avatāra, which means descent or passing down. Likewise, this word comes from the Sanskrit ava, which means down, and tāra/tarati, which means passing over. 

These Sanskrit terms are similar to the Latin trans, which means over or across. The word avatar entered the English language in 1775.

What Are Examples of Avatar?

Many people can use the word avatar in many ways. For example, this noun can refer to a concept in Hindu religion, an image in cyberspace, or generally referring to an embodiment of something. Take a look at the below example sentences containing this word of the day and see if you can decipher which meaning of avatar is used in each of them.

Example #1: Learning About Avatars

They studied the avatar of the god Vishnu in the class on Hindu mythology. The students were fascinated by the incarnations of Vishnu, the Hindu god. 

Example #2: Does the Avatar Match the Person?

The users’ avatars in the virtual world did not always match their human persona. For example, the computer user in the chat room about video games had an avatar of a busty woman, but he was actually a large bearded man.

Example #3: Behind the Avatar

You never know what is behind a person’s avatar on social media or forums, so you should never agree to meet a stranger on the internet in person. 

Example #4: The Avatar of Charity

She was the avatar of charity; she always gave away a portion of her income every month to less fortunate people. 

What Are Translations of Avatar?

Many people worldwide practice the Hindu religion and may use translations of the word avatar in daily life. To learn how to say avatar in different languages, look at the below list of translations of avatar from Nice Translator

  • Urdu: اوتار
  • Swedish: avatar
  • Tamil: சின்னம்
  • Ukrainian: аватар
  • Basque: avilo
  • Russian: аватар
  • Kannada: ಅವತಾರ
  • Serbian: аватар
  • Hungarian: avatár
  • Estonian: avatari
  • Hebrew: גִלגוּל
  • Malayalam: അവപ്പെടുത്തല്
  • Chinese (PRC): 头像
  • Slovak: avatar
  • Malay: avatar
  • Finnish: hahmo
  • Norwegian: Avatar
  • French: avatar
  • Latvian: iemiesojums
  • Hindi: अवतार
  • Lithuanian: Avataras
  • Spanish: avatar
  • Bengali: অবতার
  • Dutch: avatar
  • Vietnamese: hình đại diện
  • Slovenian: avatar
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 頭像
  • Korean: 화신
  • Japanese: アバター
  • German: Benutzerbild
  • Gujarati: અવતાર
  • Polish: awatara
  • Amharic: አቫታር
  • Marathi: अवतार
  • Thai: สัญลักษณ์
  • Bulgarian: Аватар
  • Greek: avatar
  • Arabic: الصورة الرمزية
  • Romanian: Avatar
  • Turkish: avatar
  • Welsh: avatar
  • Croatian: avatar

What Are Synonyms of the Word Avatar?

Since avatar has a few different meanings, it can be helpful to know its synonyms to clarify if a person does not know what you mean by the word avatar. Power Thesaurus provides many synonyms of avatar that you can use!

  • acme
  • actualization
  • admin
  • administrator
  • advocate
  • angel
  • apex
  • apogee
  • apotheosis
  • apparition
  • appearance
  • appearing
  • archetype
  • arising
  • baron
  • beau ideal
  • daemon
  • divinity
  • embodiment
  • embodiments
  • epitome
  • essence
  • exemplar
  • exemplification
  • expression
  • god
  • godhead
  • guide
  • icon
  • impersonation
  • incarnation
  • incarnations
  • incorporation
  • manifestation
  • materialization
  • metamorphosis
  • metempsychosis
  • model
  • numen
  • paradigm
  • paragon
  • personification
  • prosopopoeia
  • quintessence
  • realization
  • reification
  • representation
  • soul
  • symbol
  • transformation
  • transmutation
  • transubstantiation
  • type

What Are Antonyms of the Word Avatar?

Power Thesaurus also lists many antonyms of the word avatar. You can use these antonyms to describe things that are not an accurate embodiment of a concept or belief. 

  • adulteration
  • bastardization
  • corruption
  • corruptions
  • crud
  • debasement
  • defilement
  • degeneration
  • dregs
  • dung
  • excrement
  • filth
  • filthiness
  • foulness
  • garbage
  • lowest
  • mire
  • muck
  • putrescence
  • putridity
  • rabble
  • refuse
  • riffraff
  • rottenness
  • rubbish
  • ruin
  • scum


The definition of avatar is multifaceted. First, folks can use avatar to refer to an image representing a person online or in a video game. Generally, the word avatar means an embodiment or personification. The word avatar can also refer to the incarnation of a Hindu deity in human or animal form or as a specific term in lab testing.


  1. Avatar synonyms – 300 Words and Phrases for Avatar | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Bastardization synonyms – 47 Words and Phrases for Bastardization | Power Thesaurus 
  3. avatar | Hinduism | Britannica 
  4. Avatar Definition & Meaning | 
  5. Avatar | Nice Translator