avatar

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avatar

1. Hinduism the manifestation of a deity, notably Vishnu, in human, superhuman, or animal form
2. a movable image that represents a person in a virtual reality environment or in cyberspace

Avatar

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Vishnu is the Hindu god of goodness. He has come to Earth when needed in the past in a series of so-called descents or avatars. These are incarnations. Tradition says there will be ten of them, nine of which have already passed:

A dwarf who saved the world from a demon. Prince Rama, defender of the good. Krishna, the poet and warrior who reestablished the principles of religion. A fish that rescued the first man, Manu, from a worldwide flood. A tortoise. A boar. A man-lion. A warrior hero. Prince Gautama, the Buddha. Yet to come: A messiah with a sword of flame who will come at the end of the fourth period of the world to save the righteous and destroy the wicked. He will be riding a white horse.

avatar

[′av·ə‚tär]
(computer science)
A virtual representation of a person or a person's interactions with others in a virtual environment, conveying a sense of someone's presence (known as telepresence) by providing the location (position and orientation) and identity; examples include the graphical human figure model, the talking head, and the real-time reproduction of a three-dimesional human image.

avatar

(chat, virtual reality)
An image representing a user in a multi-user virtual reality (or VR-like, in the case of Palace) space.

avatar

(2)
(CMU, Tektronix) root, superuser. There are quite a few Unix computers on which the name of the superuser account is "avatar" rather than "root". This quirk was originated by a CMU hacker who disliked the term "superuser", and was propagated through an ex-CMU hacker at Tektronix.

avatar

A graphic identity that users select to represent themselves in a chat, instant messaging (IM) or multiplayer gaming session. An avatar is generally a caricature, rather than a realistic photo, and can be anything from a simple cartoon to a bizarre fantasy figure. However, images of real objects are also used. The term is a Sanskrit word that means the incarnation of a god on earth, and this usage of the term came from the gaming and 3D chat worlds. See VRML.


Some Avatars
These are four examples from the AvatarDB Web site, which has more than 50,000 images arranged by category. People choose an avatar based on how they want others to see them. For more information, visit www.avatarsdb.com.