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From one of the several Proto-Indo-Iranian *ar- verbal roots; see there for details.

Old Indic ārya- (with long-a, vriddhi-formed Sanskrit ā́rya-) is a cognate of Old Iranian arya- (with short-a, Avestan airya/airiia- and Old Persian ariya-). The term was used as a self-designator by both Indians and Iranians.


आर्य (ā́ryam

  1. (primary) an Indo-Aryan, i.e. an Ārya-, a self-designator of the peoples of Ancient India who speak Ārya language (ārya-bhāšā-)
    1. a speaker of the language of the Vedas (opposed to अनार्य (an-ārya), दस्यु (dasyu), दास (dāsa))
    2. an inhabitant of आर्यावर्त (āryā.varta)
    3. a member of the ārya.varna.
    4. one who is favourable to the Ārya- people/cause (RV. etc.)
  2. (secondary) a person having the self-ascribed qualities of a speaker of Ārya language
    1. a respectable, honourable, faithful man
    2. one who is faithful to the religion of his country
    3. a man highly esteemed, a respectable, honourable man (Pañcat., Śak. etc.)
    4. in later times name of the first three castes, compare ārya.varna (opposed to शूद्र (śūdra)) (late RV., AV., VS., MBh., Yājñ., Pañcat. etc.)
    5. an arí-, a master, an owner (L.)
    6. an aryamán, a friend (L.)
    7. a वैश्य (vaiśya) (L.)
  3. (from developments in Buddhist/Pali usage)
    1. Buddha
    2. (Buddhism) a man who has thought on the four chief truths of Buddhism and lives accordingly, a Buddhist priest (Pali अय्यो (ayyo), or अरियो (ariyo))
  4. (proper noun) a son of Manu Sāvarṇa (Hariv.)



आर्य (ā́rya)

  1. (primary) Indo-Aryan, pertaining to peoples of ancient India who speak Ārya (:= Indo-Aryan) language
    1. pertaining to speakers of the language of the Vedas (opposed to अनार्य (an-ārya), दस्यु (dasyu), दास (dāsa))
    2. pertaining to inhabitants of आर्यावर्त (āryā.varta)
    3. pertaining to members of the ārya.varna
    4. pertaining to worshipers of the gods of the Vedas
  2. (secondary) self-ascribed qualities of a person who speaks (an) Ārya language
    1. respectable, honourable, faithful
    2. faithful to the religion of his country
    3. behaving like an arya-, worthy of one, honourable, respectable, noble (R., Mn., Śak. etc.)
    4. of a good family
    5. excellent
    6. wise
    7. suitable



  • Sir Monier Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit-English dictionary etymologically and philologically arranged with special reference to cognate Indo-European languages, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1898, page 0152