From Sanskrit असु ‎(asu-), with several possible etymologies and meanings. In the context of asura conventionally associated with asu- in the sense of "master of the house". This meaning is not further narrowed by its etymology: Cf. Avestan 𐬀𐬵𐬎 ‎(ahu2-, lord) and 𐬀𐬵𐬎𐬭𐬀 ‎(ahura, lord), Hittite 𒈗 ‎(ḥaššū, king), and Latin erus ‎(lord).

The Brahmanas and the Puranas derive asura from another asu-, "breath", a cognate of which is found in Av. ahu1-, "life, existence". In yet other post-Vedic Sanskrit literature, asura was back-formed as a-sura, "non-sura", with sura then associated with a group of demi-gods who inhabit Indra's domain.


असुर ‎(ásuram

  1. spirit, good spirit, supreme spirit (said of Varuna)
  2. the chief of the evil spirits
  3. an evil spirit, demon, ghost, opponent of the gods
  4. name of Rāhu
  5. the sun
  6. cloud
  7. (in the plural) name of a warrior-tribe
  8. name of a Vedic school
  9. zodiacal sign
  10. (botany) Sinapis ramosa (in later Sanskrit सुर ‎(sura) has been formed from असुर ‎(asura), as सित ‎(sita), from असित ‎(asita))




  • Sir Monier Monier-Williams (1898) A Sanskrit-English dictionary etymologically and philologically arranged with special reference to cognate Indo-European languages, Oxford: Clarendon Press, page 0121
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