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Shree in Devanagari script used for Sanskrit

Sri (/ʃr/;[1] Devanagari: श्री, IAST: Śrī [ʃɹiː, ɕɹiː]) also transliterated as Sree, Shri, Shree, Si or Seri is a word of Sanskrit origin, used in South Asia and Southeast Asia as a polite form of address equivalent to the English "Mr." or "Ms." in written and spoken language, but also as a title of veneration for deities. It is widely used in South and Southeast Asian languages such as in Indonesian, Javanese, Balinese, Sinhalese, Thai, Tamil, Hindi and Malay.


Sri has a core meaning of "diffusing light or radiance or eminence", related to the root śrā "to cook, boil", but as a feminine abstract noun, it has received a general meaning of "grace, splendour, beauty; wealth, affluence, prosperity".[2][3]

Derived forms of address are Shrimati (abbreviated Smt) for married women and Sushri for women (regardless of marital status).

Spelling and pronunciation[edit]

In Devanagari script for Sanskrit, Hindi and other languages, the word ⟨श्री⟩ is spelled with three conjoined letters: श (śa / sha) – र (ra) – ी (ī, long i). These are distinct from स (sa) and ि (short i). The IAST transliteration is śrī. A common intuitive transliteration is shrii. (Other forms include Hunterian zrI.)

Some other Indian languages do not distinguish /ʃ/ (sh in English) from /s/ in speech or for native words, but do retain distinct spelling for loanwords. For example, Sinhalese and Tamil respectively have: (ශ, ஶ், śa) versus (ස, ஸ், sa). In these cases, the spelling generally reflects Sanskrit śrī ("shri"), though the pronunciation may be "sri", "seri", or "si".

(For further information, see § Other languages, below.)


Sri is also the avatar of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth.

Sri is a polite form of address equivalent to the English "Mr." or "Ms.".[4]

Shri is also frequently used as an epithet of some Hindu gods, in which case it is often translated into English as Holy. Also in language and general usage, Shri if used by itself and not followed by any name then it refers to the supreme consciousness i.e. God.

Shri Devi (or in short Shri, another name of Lakshmi, consort of Vishnu) is the devi (goddess) of wealth according to Hindu beliefs. Among today's orthodox Vaishnavas, the English word "Shree" is a revered syllable and is used to refer to Lakshmi as the supreme goddess, while "Sri" or "Shri" is used to address humans.

Shri is one of the names of Ganesha, the Hindu god of prosperity.

Shri is also used as a title of the Hindu deities Rama, Krishna, Saraswati, Radha (used as Shrimati Radharani), and sometimes Durga.


Shri may be repeated depending on the status of the person.


Sridevi is a form of Lakshmi. She killed Demon Jambasura.

Other current usage[edit]

Shri, along with the forms Shrimati (for married women, equivalent to English Mrs.) and Sushri, is often used by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains as a respectful affix to the names of celebrated or revered persons.

There is a common practice of writing Shri as the first word centralised in line at the beginning of a document.

On Vidyāraṃbhaṃ ceremony, the mantra "Om hari sri ganapataye namah" is written on sand or in a tray of rice grains by the child, under the supervision of Guru or Priest.

Another usage is as an emphatic compound (which can be used several times: shri shri, or shri shri shri, etc.) in princely styles, notably in Darbar Sri, Desai Shri, and Thakur Sri or Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, the founder of the social and spiritual movement Ananda Marga (the Path of Bliss).

The honorific can also be applied to objects and concepts that are widely respected, such as the Sikh religious text, the Shri Guru Granth Sahib. Similarly, when the Ramlila tradition of reenacting the Ramayana is referred to as an institution, the term Shri Ramlila is frequently used.

Indian music[edit]

Its usage is common in the names of ragas (musical motifs), either as a prefix or postfix. Some examples are Shree, Bageshree, Dhanashree, Malashree, Jayantashree, Rageshree, and Shree ranjani.

Other languages[edit]

South and Southeast Asia[edit]

Language/Script Sri written as Notes
Assamese শ্রী
Bengali শ্রী
Burmese သီရိ (thiri) See Tamil below.
Devanagari श्री
Filipino Sri Formerly used sometimes as an honorific title for rulers in old indianized prehispanic kingdoms and rajahnates in the Philippines, such as Sri Lumay of the Rajahnate of Cebu or Sri Bata Shaja of the Rajahnate of Butuan.
Gujarati શ્રી
Indonesian Sri Often used as a title of veneration, however "Sri" also the name of ancient Java rice goddess Dewi Sri and also for royal usage such as "Sri Bhaginda", etc. "Sri" is also likely to be used as a person's name usually by Javanese people, such as "Sri Rahayu", "Ibu Sri" (Mrs. Sri), "Sri Agung", "Sri Rahayu", "Sri Padma Kenchana", etc
Javanese ꦱꦿꦶ (sri) alternatively written as ꦯꦿꦶ or ꦯꦿꦷ Often used to address royal or venerated figures, such as "Sri Bhaginda" (equivalent to "your majesty), and names of deities, such as the ancient Java rice goddess Dewi Sri. In modern Javanese language, it is a common part proper names. For example, the name of former Indonesian finance minister, Sri Mulyani Indrawati. "Sri" is also used as names for other things other than people, such as the Indonesian bus company "Sri Rahayu" and "Sri Padma Kenchana".
Kannada ಶ್ರೀ
Khmer ស្រី (Srey) and សេរី (Serey)
Lao ສີ (Si) and ສຣີ (Sri)
Malay سري (Seri) Used for honorific titles in Malay kingdoms and sultanates. Such as the honorific title for the Sultan of Brunei: Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. Sanskrit influence to South East Asia is very strong since its effect to the people inhabiting Nusantara (Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore), although mainly of them are Muslim.
Malayalam ശ്രീ
Odia ଶ୍ରୀ
Punjabi ਸ਼੍ਰੀ
Sinhala ශ්‍රී (Sri) also ශ්රී (Sri or "Shree") or සිරි (Siri) Meaning "resplendent", as in Sri Lanka, "Resplendent Island".
Sylheti ꠍꠤꠞꠤ (siri)
Tamil ஸ்ரீ (Shre or Shree) Its Tamil equivalent (Thiru) is also used.
Telugu శ్రీ
Thai ศิริ (Siri) and ศรี (Sri or Si) Thai place names below.
Vietnamese/Cham Chế Vietnamese transcription of honorific name prefix used among the Cham ethnic minority.

Place names[edit]

The honorific is incorporated into many place names. A partial list:

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya (พระนครศรีอยุธยา), formal name of city and province of Ayutthaya
Nakhon Si Thammarat (นครศรีธรรมราช) city and province
Sisaket (ศรีสะเกษ) city and province

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sri". Collins English Dictionary.
  2. ^ Turner, Sir Ralph Lilley; Dorothy Rivers Turner (January 2006) [1962]. A comparative dictionary of the Indo-Aryan languages. London: Oxford University Press. p. 736. Archived from the original on 15 December 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2010. śhrīˊ 12708 śhrīˊ feminine ' light, beauty ' R̥gveda, ' welfare, riches ' Avestan (Iranian) Pali Prakrit sirī – feminine, Prakrit – feminine ' prosperity '; Marāṭhī – s honorific affix to names of relationship (e.g. āj̈ā – s, ājī – s) Jules Bloch La Formation de la Langue Marathe Paris 1920, page 412. – Sinhalese siri ' health, happiness ' (Wilhelm Geiger An Etymological Glossary of the Sinhalese Language Colombo 1941, page 180) a loanword from Pali <-> See addendum śrḗyas –, śrḗṣṭha – . See Addenda: śrīˊ – occurring for the first time in Addenda : śrīparṇī – .
  3. ^ Apte, Vaman Shivaram (1957–59). Revised and enlarged edition of Prin. V. S. Apte's The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary. Prasad Prakashan. p. 1575. 1 Wealth, riches, affluence, prosperity, plenty; ... -2 Royalty, majesty, royal wealth;... -3 Dignity, high position, state;... -4 Beauty, grace, splendour, lustre;... -5 Colour, aspect; ... -6 The goddess of wealth, Lak-ṣmī, the wife of Viṣṇu;... -7 Any virtue or excellence. -8 Decoration. -9 Intellect, understanding. -1 Super- human power. -11 The three objects of human existence taken collectively (धर्म, अर्थ and काम). -12 The Sarala tree. -13 The Bilva tree. -14 Cloves. -15 A lotus. -16 The twelfth digit of the moon. -17 N. of Sarasvatī, (the goddess of speech). -18 Speech. -19 Fame, glory. -2 The three Vedas (वेदत्रयी);... -m. N. of one of the six Rāgas or musical modes. -a. Splendid, radiant, adorning. (The word श्री is often used as an honorific prefix to the names of deities and eminent persons; श्रीकृष्णः, श्रीरामः, श्रिवाल्मीकिः, श्रीजयदेवः; also celebrated works, generally of a sacred character; श्रीभागवत, श्रीरामायण)&c.; it is also used as an auspicious sign at the commencement of letters, manuscripts &c
  4. ^ Howard Measures (1962). Styles of address: a manual of usage in writing and in speech. Macmillan. pp. 136, 140. Retrieved 19 January 2011.