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A swami (Sanskrit: स्वामी Svāmi [sʋáːmi]) sometimes abbreviated "Sw." is an ascetic or yogi who has been initiated into the religious monastic order founded by Adi Shankara, or to a religious teacher.
The Oxford English Dictionary gives the etymology as
Hindi svāmī master, lord, prince, used by Hindus as a term of respectful address, < Sanskrit svāmin in same senses, also the idol or temple of a god.
"Svami", when used as a prefix with a monastic name. The term usually refers to men, but can also apply to women who have taken the oath of renunciation and abandoned their social and or worldly status to follow this path. The monastic name is usually a single word without a first and last name.
In the Bengali language, the word (pronounced [ˈʃami]), while carrying its original meaning, has a dual meaning of 'husband'. The word also means 'husband' in the Malay language, where it is spelled 'Suami'. ("Istilah Malaysia"), ed. "Istilah Malaysia." Pusat Rujukan Persuratan Melayu @ DBP Malaysia. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Malaysia. Web. 31 May 2013. <http://prpm.dbp.gov.my/Search.aspx?k=suami>.
- Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Religion, page 958.
- see Dashanami Sampradaya
- Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. London: Chambers Harrap, 2009. s.v. "Swami," http://www.credoreference.com/entry/brewerphrase/swami (accessed May 14, 2011).
- "swami, n.". OED Online. June 2011. Oxford University Press. (accessed August 31, 2011).
5. , ed. "Istilah Malaysia." Pusat Rujukan Persuratan Melayu @ DBP Malaysia. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Malaysia. Web. 31 May 2013. <http://prpm.dbp.gov.my/Search.aspx?k=suami>.