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Alternative forms[edit]


Built from brahmin, which is an anglicization of Sanskrit brāhmaṇa (or vernacular variants thereof). Introduced in 1816 as Brahmenism by George S. Faber (OED). Current spelling variants are Brahminism besides Brahmanism.

Proper noun[edit]


  1. The principles and religious practice of the Brahmins, aspects of Hinduism as practiced by the Brahmin caste of India.
  2. Historical Vedic ritualism, contrasted with Shramana traditions.
    • 1972, Cromwell Crawford, review of L. M. Joshi, Brahmanism, Buddhism and Hinduism, Philosophy East and West:
      Alongside Brahmanism was the non-Aryan Shramanic culture with its roots going back to prehistoric times.
  3. The conduct or attitudes ascribed to the social or cultural elite within a given society.
    • July 9, 1919, letter from T.S. Eliot to John Quinn :
      I am sorry to say that I have found it uphill and exasperating work trying to impose Joyce on such “intellectual” people, or people whose opinion carries weight as I know, in London. [...] There is a strong body of critical Brahminism, destructive and conservative in temper, which will not have Joyce.