Mleccha: 25 definitions



Mleccha means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi, Hindi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

Alternative spellings of this word include Mlechchha.

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ).—A tribe of people of ancient India. This tribe was born from the tail of the celestial cow Nandinī, kept by Vasiṣṭha for sacrificial purposes when there was a fight between Viśvāmitra and Vasiṣṭha. Mahābhārata gives the following information regarding them.

The mlecchas who sprang up from the tail of the celestial cow Nandinī sent the army of Viśvāmitra flying in terror. (Śloka 38, Chapter 174, Ādi Parva). (See full article at Story of Mleccha from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Mleccha (म्लेच्छ).—Born out of the left side of Vena's body when the latter's body was churned;1 begin with Anu, son of Yayāti; ruled by Dakṣa; ruled by Turvasu; ruled by the hundred sons of Pracetas of Druhyu family in the east; the rule of the kings;2 not to be seen in Kuśadvīpa; Śakas (Parādas, Viṣṇu-purāṇa), Pallavas (Paplava, Viṣṇu-purāṇa) and Kāmbojas, all Mlecchas; (Ābhiras, Viṣṇu-purāṇa) Guruṇdas and Vṛṣalas, also belonged to this group;3 kingdoms of, found in the lotus coming out of the naval of the Lord;4 their kingdoms side by side with those of the Āryas;5 people who live in their countries are ineligible for Pārvana śrāddha;6 attain salvation at Benares;7 do not molest the women of their enemies;8 to be conquered by Kalki;9 put down by Pramati god.10

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 10. 7;
  • 2) Ib. 34. 30; 4. 54; 33. 14; 48. 9; 50. 76; Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 23. 16.
  • 3) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 16. 12; 19. 60; 31. 79, 84 and 90; III. 20. 5; 48. 48-9; 68. 44; 73. 109; 74. 11-12, 203-6, 215; Matsya-purāṇa 273. 22; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 3. 48; 17. 5; 24. 69; V. 38. 28.
  • 4) Matsya-purāṇa 169. 11;
  • 5) Ib. 273. 25.
  • 6) Ib. 16. 16.
  • 7) Ib. 181. 19.
  • 8) Ib. 188. 51.
  • 9) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 18. 43.
  • 10) Matsya-purāṇa 114. 11-12; 121. 43; 144. 53.

1b) These were the elder Madhucchandasas, who were cursed by Viśvāmitra to become Mlecchas;1 defeated by Bharata; these were the Mlecchas of the north;2 worship progenitors;3 eleven kings ruled for 300 years.4 Then Kolikilas followed;5 their dharma described.6

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 45. 82; 47. 41; 48. 15, 21, 36; 58. 78; 83. 112; 99. 12, 268;
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 16. 33; 20. 30; 23. 16; XII. 1. 40-43.
  • 3) Vāyu-purāṇa 93. 44.
  • 4) Ib. 99. 364.
  • 5) Vāyu-purāṇa 99. 364.
  • 6) Ib. 99. 392-400.
Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. II.27.23, II.28.44, II.29.15, II.31.10, II.47.12, II.48.33, III.48.19, V.158.20, VI.10.64, VI.10.66, VIII.30.70, VIII.51.19) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Mleccha) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Purana book cover
context information

The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ) refers to “persons whose language is not intelligible”. The word is used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti. (also see the Manubhāṣya verse 7.149)

Dharmashastra book cover
context information

Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Source: Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ).—(I) a word although correct, yet looked upon as incorrect owing to its faulty utterance; (2) a person like the uncultured people, who is not able to pronounce words correctly cf. म्लेच्छा मा भूमेत्यध्येयं व्याकरणम् (mlecchā mā bhūmetyadhyeyaṃ vyākaraṇam) M. Bh. I. 1, Ahnika 1.

context information

Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhagavad-gita (4th edition)

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ) refers to “(1) Barbarian (2) Those who are unable to properly utter the Vedic mantras”. (cf. Glossary page from Śrīmad-Bhagavad-Gītā).

Vaishnavism book cover
context information

Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Mleccha referred to people of foreign extraction in ancient India. The Sanskrit term Mleccha, referring to the indistinct speech of some non-Aryans. Mleccha is used for one who is impure, dirty or uncultured. It is derived from the root mlich~mlech, meaning to speak indistinctly (like a foreigner or barbarian who does not speak Sanskrit). We find the use of root also in Mahābhāṣya.

Some explanations of the name "mleccha" suggest that the word was derived from the Indo-Aryan perception of the speech of the indigenous peoples. Namely, "mlech" was a word that meant "to speak indistinctly." As such, some suggest that the Indo-Aryans used an onomatopoeic sound to imitate the harshness of alien tongue and to indicate incomprehension, thus coming up with "mleccha".

Mleccha (from Vedic Sanskrit म्लेच्छ mleccha, meaning "non-Vedic" or "non-Aryan", "barbarian", "foreigners"), also spelt Mlechchha or Mlechha.

Source: Red Zambala: On the Salvific Activities of God

Mleccha — from ‘mlecch’ to talk confusedly. A term of disrespect for Non-Aryans who do not conform to the Aryan codes of practice or speak Sanskrit. Nowadays used mostly for foreigners such as Europeans and Muslims.

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ) or Mlecchauḍa is the name of a Vīra (hero) who, together with the Ḍākinī named Mlecchī [or Mlecchauḍī] forms one of the 36 pairs situated in the Guṇacakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava chapter 15. Accordingly, the guṇacakra refers to one of the four divisions of the sahaja-puṭa (‘innate layer’), situated within the padma (lotus) in the middle of the Herukamaṇḍala. The 36 pairs of Ḍākinīs and Vīras [viz., Mleccha] are whitish red in color; they each have one face and four arms; they hold a skull bowl, a skull staff, a small drum, and a knife.

Note: Mleccha is also known by the name Oḍina, while Mlecchī is also known as Oḍinī.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ) and Ārya refers to the two-fold division of men born in Mānuṣottara and in the Antaradvīpas, situated in the “middle world” (madhyaloka), according to chapter 2.2 [ajitanātha-caritra] of Hemacandra’s 11th century Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra (“lives of the 63 illustrious persons”): a Sanskrit epic poem narrating the history and legends of sixty-three important persons in Jainism.

Accordingly:—“In these 35 zones on this side of Mānuṣottara and in the Antaradvīpas, men arise by birth; on the mountains, Meru, etc., by kidnapping and power of learning, in the 2½ continents and in 2 oceans. [...]. From the division into Āryas and Mlecchas they are two-fold. [...] The Mlecchas—Śākas, Yavanas, Śabaras, Barbaras, Kāyas, Muruṇḍas, Uḍras, Goḍras, Patkaṇakas, Arapākas, Hūnas, Romakas, Pārasas, Khasas, Khāsikas, Ḍombilikas, Lakusas, Bhillas, Aṅghras, Bukkasas, Pulindas, Krauñcakas, Bhamararutas, Kuñcas, Cīnas, Vañcukas, Mālavas, Draviḍas, Kulakṣas, Kirātas, Kaikayas, Hayamukhas, Gajamukhas, Turagamukhas, Ajamukhas, Hayakarṇas, Gajakarṇas, and other non-Āryas also are people who do not know even the word ‘dharma’”.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 3: The Lower and middle worlds

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ, “barbarian”) refers to one of the two types of human beings according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 3.36.—Those human beings who have no control over their speech i.e. behave and speak shamelessly without regard to anyone are called barbarians.

How many types of barbarians (mleccha) are there? They are of two types namely: from Antaradvīpa and from Karmabhūmi. Who are the barbarians from Karmabhūmi? These are the human beings from areas like Pulinda, Śabara, Yavana, Śaka, Khasa, Barbara etc of Karmabhūmi (area /region of labour).Who are called inhabitants of Antaradvīpa? The hinter region between Lavaṇa Ocean and Himavāna and Vijayārdha Mountains is called Antaradvīpa. Those born in this region are called Antaradvīpaja.

General definition book cover
context information

Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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India history and geography

Source: Shiva Purana (history)

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ) were wild ferocious tribes whose acts of violence caused vast devastations and destructions, struck terror in the social life of the country. They are said to have been repulsed and destroyed by lord Śiva.

Source: Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ) is the name of a tribe mentioned in the Gupta inscriptions. The Gupta empire (r. 3rd-century CE), founded by Śrī Gupta, covered much of ancient India and embraced the Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. These tribes (e.g., the Mlecchas) migrated to places other than their original settlemenets and gave their names to the janapadas they settled. They replaced the old Vedic tribes in Punjab and Rajasthan though some of them are deemed as offshoots of the main tribe..

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Mleccha.—(EI 22), name applied to the Muhammadans and other foreigners; cf. Mleccheśvara (EI 32). Note: mleccha is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: OpenEdition books: Vividhatīrthakalpaḥ (History)

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ) in Sanskrit (or Miccha, Meccha in Prakrit) refers to “barbarians”, as is mentioned in the Vividhatīrthakalpa by Jinaprabhasūri (13th century A.D.): an ancient text devoted to various Jaina holy places (tīrthas).—Accordingly, “In the year 1312, the mleccha shattered the image of Ṛṣabha that Jāvaḍi had installed. [...] In 1321, Lalla and Pīṭhada restored the temples destroyed by the mleccha”.

India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

mlēccha (म्लेच्छ).—m (S) corruptly mlēñcha m The generic term for a barbarian or foreigner; that is for one speaking any language but Sanskrit, and not subject to the usual Hindu institutions.

context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ).—[mlecch-ghañ]

1) A barbarian, a non-Āryan (one not speaking the Sanskṛt language, or not conforming to Hindu or Āryan institutions), a foreigner in general; ग्राह्या म्लेच्छप्रसिद्धिस्तु विरोधादर्शने सति (grāhyā mlecchaprasiddhistu virodhādarśane sati) J. N. V.; म्लेच्छान् मूर्छयते (mlecchān mūrchayate); or म्लेच्छनिवहनिधने कलयसि करवालम् (mlecchanivahanidhane kalayasi karavālam) Gīt.1.

2) An outcast, a very low man; (Baudhāyana thus defines the word:-gomāṃsakhādako yastu viruddhaṃ bahu bhāṣate | sarvā- cāravihīnaśca mleccha ityabhidhīyate ||).

3) A sinner, wicked person.

4) Foreign or barbarous speech.

-ccham 1 Copper.

2) Vermilion.

Derivable forms: mlecchaḥ (म्लेच्छः).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ).—m.

(-cchaḥ) 1. The generic term for a barbarian or foreigner; that is, for one speaking any language but Sanskrit, and not subject to the usual Hindu institutions. 2. A sinner, a criminal. 3. Indistinct or barbarous speech. E. mlecch to speak inarticulately, aff. ghañ .

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ).—m. 1. A barbarian, [Hitopadeśa] iii. [distich] 62. 2. A sinner.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ).—[masculine] barbarian or barbarism.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Mleccha (म्लेच्छ):—[from mlech] m. a foreigner, barbarian, non-Aryan, man of an outcast race, any person who does not speak Sanskṛt and does not conform to the usual Hindū institutions, [Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa] etc. etc. (f(ī). )

2) [v.s. ...] a person who lives by agriculture or by making weapons, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

3) [v.s. ...] a wicked or bad man, sinner, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

4) [v.s. ...] ignorance of Sanskṛt, barbarism, [Nyāyamālā-vistara [Scholiast or Commentator]]

5) [v.s. ...] n. copper, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

6) [v.s. ...] vermilion, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ):—(cchaḥ) 1. m. The generic term for a barbarian; a sinner; indistinct, barbarous speech.

[Sanskrit to German] (Deutsch Wörterbuch)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Böhtlingk and Roth Grosses Petersburger Wörterbuch

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ):—(von mlich, mlech)

1) m. gaṇa ucchādi zu [Pāṇini’s acht Bücher 6, 1, 160.] a) Wälscher, Barbar [Hemacandra’s Anekārthasaṃgraha 2, 65.] [Medinīkoṣa ch. 5.] [Halāyudha 2, 444.] [ŚAT.] [BR. 3, 2, 1, 24.] [Manu’s Gesetzbuch 7, 149. 12, 43.] [Mahābhārata 1, 3480.] sasarja phenataḥ sā gaurmlecchānbahuvidhānapi [6685. 3, 2402.] uttarāścāpaṃre mlecchāḥ krūrāḥ [6, 372.] goyoniprabhavāḥ [7,3379. 12, 6293.] [Harivaṃśa 6441.] (kāmaduhaḥ) romakūpeṣu mlecchāḥ (saṃbhūtāḥ) [Rāmāyaṇa.1,55,3.] [Spr. 1209.] [DAŚAR.2,42.] [VARĀH.] bei [Colebrooke II, 411.] [Rājataraṅgiṇī.1,107. 308.] [Viṣṇupurāṇa 375. 443. 477, Nalopākhyāna 65. 482.] [Weber’s Verzeichniss 288,4.] [Oxforder Handschriften 22,a,23.] [Weber’s Indische Studien.1,13,26.] [Prabodhacandrodaja 85,11. 87,19.] [Hiouen-Thsang.1,88.] [Vie de Hiouen-Thsang 75. 230.] [WASSILJEW 50,52.] jātayaḥ [Amarakoṣa.2,10,21.] [Hemacandra’s Abhidhānacintāmaṇi 934.] [Mahābhārata.1,7659. 12,6947.] [Oxforder Handschriften 339,b,21.] deśa [Amarakoṣa 2, 1, 7.] kṛṣṇasārastu carati mṛgo yatra svabhāvataḥ . sa jñeyo yajñiyo deśo mlecchadeśastvataḥ paraḥ .. [Manu’s Gesetzbuch 2, 23.] deśāḥ [Harivaṃśa 11453.] vāc [Manu’s Gesetzbuch 10, 45.] [Mahābhārata 1, 5803.] bhāṣā [378.] rakta [Weber’s Verzeichniss No. 824.] mleccha = pāparakta ein Mann, der Hang zum Bösen hat, [Medinīkoṣa] — b) das Wälschen, Unkenutniss der Sprache des Landes; = apabhāṣaṇa [Medinīkoṣa] = abhāṣaṇa [Hemacandra’s Anekārthasaṃgraha] —

2) n. Kupfer [Hemacandra’s Abhidhānacintāmaṇi 1040,] [Scholiast]; vgl. mlecchamukha, mlecchākhya, mlecchāsya .

--- OR ---

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ):—

1) b) mleccho ha vā eṣa yadapaśabdaḥ [Patañjali] in [MAHĀBH. lith. Ausg. Einl. 6,a.]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Sanskrit-Wörterbuch in kürzerer Fassung

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ):——

1) m. — a) Wälscher , Barbar. — b) *ein Mann , der Hang zum Bösen hat. — c) das Wälschen , Unkenntniss der Landessprache ; Barbarismus Comm. zu [Jaiminiyanyāyamālāvistara 1,3,29.] —

2) f. mlecchī f. zu 1)a) [Hemacandra's Pariśiṣṭaparvan 2,668.fg.] —

3) *n. — a) Kupfer. — b) Zinnober [Rājan 13,57.]

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Hindi dictionary

[«previous next»] — Mleccha in Hindi glossary
Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Mleccha (म्लेच्छ) [Also spelled mlechchh]:—(nm) an alien (invader); a non-Aryan; (a) lowly; unclean, shabby; un-Indian (in a contemptuous sense); —[jāti] an alien race; —[bhāṣā] an alien language/speech; hence ~[] (nf).

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