(in Indian mythology) a member of a semidivine race, part human, part cobra in form, associated with water and sometimes with mystical initiation.‘His canvasses have lustrous Buddhas, among nagas, dragons, animals and birds.’
- ‘Thus, the nagas, who in Buddhist mythology protected Buddha before his enlightenment by shooting down lightning bolts aimed at him, guard the sacred temple.’
- ‘Specially pertinent to this period is the image of Buddha seated on the mythological, multi-headed serpent or naga.’
- ‘The naga turned and smiled, his golden-reptilian eyes locking with his.’
From Sanskrit nāga ‘serpent’.
(in some Hindu sects) a naked wandering ascetic, in particular one belonging to a sect whose members carry arms and serve as mercenaries.
From Hindi nāgā ‘naked’.
1A member of a group of peoples living in or near the Naga Hills of Burma (Myanmar) and northeastern India.‘The Nagas lived in mountainous north-east India on the Myanmar border.’
- ‘We have seen it in India in the agreement between the Government and the Nagas.’
- ‘Many Nagas are said now to speak broken Assamese and Hindi.’
- ‘He also said ‘eighty per cent of the Nagas supported the peace process today‘.’
- ‘With capable leadership and without missionary support, the Nagas and other tribal groups have produced outstanding leaders who helped indigenize the Christian gospel in a positive way.’
2Any of the Tibeto-Burman languages of the Naga.
- ‘This seemed to gain some attention, as a few snarling words in Naga accompanied a warrior struggling out of bed, sword in hand.’
Relating to the Naga or their language.‘From the color of their sarongs and the way they wear their machetes in a shoulder scabbard, I know they are Naga tribesmen.’
- ‘While music may have always been part of Naga life, the state has recently witnessed a sudden growth of pop bands and folk music groups.’
- ‘The talks with Naga elders may be fraught with tension but attempts are being made by both sides to keep the dialogue going.’
- ‘The typical Naga embroidery has been used on the long jackets that are embellished with leather straps and more sequence.’
- ‘The Naga tribesmen I manage to speak to refuse to guide me.’
Perhaps from Sanskrit nagna ‘naked’ or naga ‘mountain’.