1. Hinduism & Buddhism
a. The totality of a person's actions and conduct during successive incarnations, regarded as causally influencing that person's destiny.
b. The law or principle through which such influence is believed to operate.
2. Fate or destiny resulting from one's previous actions: “[The pitcher] had mostly avoided damage through the first four innings despite putting at least two runners on base three times, but he could not hold back the bad karma any longer” (Ben Shpigel).
3. Informal A distinctive aura, atmosphere, or feeling: There's bad karma around the house today.
[Sanskrit, deed, action that has consequences, karma; see kwer- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
karmic (-mĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.