deva (n.)

"god, divinity, good spirit" in Hindu religion, 1819, from Sanskrit deva "a god" (as opposed to asuras "wicked spirits"), etymologically "a shining one," from *div- "to shine," thus cognate with Greek dios "divine" and Zeus, and Latin deus "god" (Old Latin deivos), from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine," in derivatives "sky, heaven, god."

Fem. form devi is used for "goddess," also (with capital D-) for the mother goddess in Hinduism. Hence, also, devadasi "temple dancing girl," literally "female servant of a god," from dasi "slave girl." Also Devanagari, the formal alphabet of Sanskrit writings (1781), which is literally "divine city (script)," from nagara "city," but which is perhaps short for nagari lipi "town writing."

updated on August 07, 2018