man·tra (măntrə, mŭn′-)
1. Hinduism A sacred verbal formula repeated in prayer, meditation, or incantation, such as an invocation of a god, a magic spell, or a syllable or portion of scripture containing mystical potentialities.
a. A commonly repeated word or phrase, especially in advocacy or for motivation: "The mantra of solid-waste management has long been reduce, reuse, recycle" (Susan Freinkel).
b. A concept or fact that is mentioned repeatedly, especially in advocacy: "Another mantra of housing bulls in America is that national average house prices have never fallen for a full year since modern statistics began" (Economist).
[Sanskrit mantraḥ; see men-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 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.