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My fingers below an Old Khmer inscription reading "Mera."  Photo: Prumsodun Ok.

A Bend in the River – An original work created by Sophiline Cheam Shapiro which retells a traditional folk tale of a girl who is eaten by a crocodile and is reborn to exact revenge.  The work uses rattan sculptures designed by sculptor Pich Sopheap and original pin peat music by composer Sophy Him. 

(ខ្មែរ​ - ទន្លេកោងមួយ)

Abhicarah – Tantric ritual designed to inflict harm on enemies.

(ខ្មែរ​ - អភិចារះ)

​Achar – Literally meaning "scholar" or "wise man," a title for the ritual officiant in many Khmer ceremonies.

(ខ្មែរ​ - អាចារ្យ)

​Agangamasor and His Magic Power – An original work created by the Cambodian Buddhist Society in Silver Springs, Maryland, which is lead by Meas Masady.  The work depicts the previous life of Reab and Preah Ream and how the two became enemies.

​Ailan – Romanization of Chinese transliteration by Peter Harris, denoting a dance performed by female dancers in the thirteenth century at Angkor as described by Zhou Daguan.

​Airavata – A three-headed white elephant that is the mount or vehicle of Indra.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្ធរាវ័ត)

​Ajanta Caves – A group of caves in India with Buddhist shrines, paintings, and sculptures built between the second century BCE and seventh century CE.

​Amrita – The elixir of life and immortality procured from churning the Ocean of Milk.  It is also believed to be procured from the saoma plant or root.

(ខ្មែរ​ - អម្រឹត)

​Anak – Old Khmer word derived from Old Javanese.  In modern Khmer, the word means “person” or “you.”

(ខ្មែរ​ - អ្នក)

​Angkor – The old Khmer capital based in modern day Siem Reap, corruption of the Sanskrit nokor.

(ខ្មែរ​ - អង្គរ)


Angkor Wat – Twelfth-century temple constructed during the reign of King Suryavarmann II.  It served as temple, mausoleum, and observatory and has remained a potent symbol of Khmer identity since.

(ខ្មែរ​ -​ អង្គរវត្ត)

​Apei – A traditional form of Khmer theater, often of comic nature and incorporating conventions from the larger sphere of Southeast Asia.

(ខ្មែរ​ - អាប៉េ)

​Apsara – Celestial dancer possessing immense skill and beauty, born from the foam of the churning of the Ocean of Milk.  In the latter regard, they can be compared to Aphrodite or Venus who was born from the sea foam in Greek mythology.

(ខ្មែរ​ - អប្សរា)

Apsara Dancing Stones – An original work created by the Angkor Dance Troupe in Lowell, Massachusetts, which is headed by Huy Sereiphousita.  The work incorporates theater and classical dance set to re-instrumentalized pin peat melodies.

(ខ្មែរ​ - អប្សរាថ្មរាំ)

Arak Tevoda – A protective deity or spirit, often associated with nature.

(ខ្មែរ - អារក្សទេវតា)

Aravana Adigal – Buddhist teacher who instructs Manimekhalai in method of deduction in the Manimekhalai.

Ardhanari – Literally meaning “half-woman,” a reference to the union of Shiva and Shakti in one physical form.  Sometimes also known as ardhnarishvara or the “half-woman lord.”  The image is left to Khmers today through ancient sculptures as well as through Robam Buong Suong Yokon.

(ខ្មែរ​ - អធ៌នារី)

​Ardhaparyanka – Lower body gesture that many yogini and apsara figures execute, characterized by one foot or the ball of that foot on the ground while the other leg is lifted high into the air and tucked in towards the knee of the standing leg.

(ខ្មែរ​ - អធ៌បរ្យង្ក)

​Asora – A Khmer word for “demon,” derived from the Sanskrit asura.

(ខ្មែរ​ - អសុរា)

​Astra – A class of weapons that are used by throwing.

(ខ្មែរ​ - អស្រ្ត)

​Ativrstidharanam – A tantric ritual designed to unleash the fall of rain.

(ខ្មែរ​ - អតិវ្ឫឞ្ដិធារណម៑)

Ayashi no Ceres – A Japanese anime series which retells the traditional tale of Hagoromo, by reincarnating the lovers as twin brother and sister.

​Ayutthaya – A pre-Thai kingdom that first emerged in the fourteenth century.  Named after Prince Rama's city.

(ខ្មែរ​ - អាយុទ្យា)

​Aylam – Romanization of Chinese transliteration by Ly Theam Teng, denoting a dance performed by female dancers in the thirteenth century at Angkor as described by Zhou Daguan.

Baeuk Rong – A dance used to open the theater, an opening dance.  Carried over into Thai.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បើករង)

Banga Mas – Gold and silver trees gifted as a form of tribute.

Bangkok – City in Thailand​ situated on the Chao Phraya river, which became the Thai capital after the fall of Ayutthaya.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បាងកក)

Banteay Chhmar – Khmer temple built during the reign of King Jayavarmann VII, between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បាន្ទាយឆ្មារ)

Banteay Samre – Khmer temple built in the twelfth century in the Angkor Wat style, features include bas reliefs depicting scenes from the Jataka and the Reamker.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បាន្ទាយសំរែ)

Banteay Srei – Khmer temple built in the tenth century, considered to have some of the most refined carvings today.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បាន្ទាយស្រី)

Balut – Second melody and dance of Robam Tamng Buon, a sacred work of the Khmer classical dance canon.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បាឡុត)

​Baray – Large man-made reservoirs built under the orders of Angkorean kings.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បារាយណ៍)

Battle of Kurukshetra – Climactic battle between the forces of the Pandava and Kaurava clans in the Mahabharata.

Battle of Langka – Climactic battle between the forces of Preah Ream and Reab in the Reamker.

Bayon – Khmer temple built during the reign of King Jayavarmann VII between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.  Known for its towers which feature the smiling faces of Lokesvara, carved in the king’s likeness.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បាយ័ន)

Baysei – A ritual item made of banana trunks, leaves, flowers, crowned by an egg and candles.  They can be interpreted as stylized tree-mountains and as Shiva linga.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បាយស្រី)

​Bedhaya – A Javanese classical dance form of which scholars posit there is a historical relationship with Khmer classical dance.

Beloved – Original work by Prumsodun Ok inspired by the tantric ritual referenced by Zhou Daguan, in which King Indravarmann III would make love nightly to a neak at Phimeanakas.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំស្ងួន)

Beng Mealea – Khmer temple built in the twelfth century in the Angkor Wat style, now completely in ruins.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បឹងមាលា)

Beng Veang – Khmer temple built in the tenth century and featuring Buddhist inscriptions.

Bhanta (Sanskrit) –​ From Pou's Lexique: "Clown (humorous)."

(ខ្មែរ - ភន្ត)

Bharata Muni – An ascetic, first human to receive knowledge of the arts from the gods in Hindu conceptions of dance and theater.

(ខ្មែរ - ភរតមុនី)

Bodhisattva – 1) A being who, although possessing the power of enlightenment (and therefore access to Nirvana), chooses to be reborn into the cycle of life and death to inspire the spiritual liberation of others.  2) The Buddha.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ពោធិសត្វ)

Bong Paoun – 1) Elder and junior.  2) Siblings.  3)  Family.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បងប្អូន)

Brahma – Four-faced Hindu god of creation.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះព្រហ្ម)

Brahmaite – A worshipper of Brahma.

​Brahmavihara – Supreme bliss in Buddhist conceptions, resulting from the possession of metta (friendship), karuna (compassion), mudita (altruistic joy), and upekkha (equanimity).

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រហ្មវិហារ)

Buddha – 1) An enlightened being who has transcended the illusions of life.​  2) Siddhartha Gautama, the historical prince upon whose teachings Buddhism is built.​

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះពុទ្ធ)

​Buong suong – 1) Prayer.  2) Dance ritual executed to pray for rain and prosperity.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បួងសួង)

Cakravarti – A universal monarch, a king who makes the world turn.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ចក្រវរ្តិន៍ ឬ ចក្កវត្តិ)

Caressing Nostalgia – An original work by Charya Burt self-described as "classical contemporary," which draws from Khmer dance gestures and sets it on cello music composed by Alexis Alrich.  The work "depicts a sentimental yearning for a treasured past."

Catummaharajika – The four kings of Buddhist heaven, who watch over each cardinal direction.  They include Vessavana (associated with the north), Virulhaka (south), Dhatarattha (east), and Virupakkha (west).

(ខ្មែរ​ - ចតុម្មហារាជិក)

Chakkachan – A diamond-floral pattern seen on Khmer temples and dance costumes, one which conjures the image of serpent scales.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ច័ក្កច័ន)

Chaktumok – Literally “four faces,” this time referring to Phnom Penh where four rivers converge.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ចតុម្មុខ)

Chaleang (Thai) – To sing. ​ Derived from the Khmer word chreang.

Chamnong – 1) Tie, knot, bond, or noose.  2) A string tied around the wrists of dancers as a form of blessing.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ចំណង)

Champa​ – Ancient Cham kingdom located in modern Vietnam, which traced its lineage to Khmer kings at Nokor Phnom but also warred with Angkor.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ចំប៉ា)

Chamreang (Thai) – Song. ​ Derived from the Khmer word chamreang.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ចំរៀង)

Chan Chhaya Pavilion – A large, elevated pavilion on the edge of the palace in Phnom Penh which was used for rehearsals and performances.  Built during the reign of King Sisowath.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះទីន័ងច័ន្ទឆាយា)

Changol – One of the primary hand gestures in Khmer classical dance, characterized by pointing the index​ finger.  Its base meaning is “tree.”

(ខ្មែរ​ - ចង្អុល)

Changwak (Thai) – Rhythm, beat, tempo.  Derived from the Khmer word changvak.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ចង្វាក់)

Chap Robam – To start dancing.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ចាប់របាំ)


Char Chol Chap Kap – Charge forward seizing and hacking.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ចរចូលចាប់កាប់)

Chbamng - To battle, fight, combat.  Carried over into Thai as a poetic meter used to depict battle scenes during performances.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ច្បាំង)

Chbamng Ramng Chul – Literally, "Fight blocked waters."  A battle during drought.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ច្បាំងរាំងជល)

Chedei – A Buddhist stupa, in which bones and relics are placed.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ចេតិយ)

Chenla – Chinese name for pre-Angkorean Khmer polity which succeeded Nokor Phnom.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ចេនឡា)

Chhab – Cymbals.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឆាប)

Chhawean Chhawat (Thai) – To circle and spiral.  Derived from the Khmer chhvat chhveal.

Chheam chruk – Literally “pig’s blood,” a deep burgundy.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឈាមជ្រូក)

Chhing – Small hand-held cymbals.

(ខ្មែរ - ឈឹង)

Chhvat chhveal – To circle and spiral, a phrase used in Moni Mekhala Ream Eyso.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឆ្វាត់ឆ្វៀល)

Chi – A pendant worn by female characters​ today.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ជី)

​Chib – One of the four major hand gestures in Khmer classical dance, created by pinching the thumb and index finger together while splaying the remaining fingers backwards.  Its base meaning is “flower” and is often used as a gesture to transition into others.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ជីប)

Chupleak - Twin of Reamleak, created from magic, in the Reamker.

(ខ្មែរ​ -​ ជបលក្ស្មណ៍)

Churning of the Ocean of Milk – A Hindu creation myth, in which the gods and demons compete for and collaborate to generate amrita, the elixir of life which grants immortality.  They have a tug of war using the naga  Vasuki as a rope, from whose tearing body an ocean of milk eventually seeps out.  The tug of war goes on for years, killing the animals in the ocean.  The movement and churning of the Ocean of Milk generates many treasures, the most celebrated in the Khmer context being the apsara, who are born from the foam of the ocean of milk.

(សំស្ក្រឹត​ – សមុទ្រមន្ថន; ខ្មែរ​ – កូសមុទ្រទឹកដោះ)

​Columbusing – The claim of discovering something that other people had already known about.

Cone – Romanization of Thai khon, a masked dance form derived from the Khmer khaol.

Contrapposto – A convention in Greek art and sculpture which seeks to capture a figure in a relaxed stance or in the act of walking, often with the weight of the figure on one leg.

Cumbala (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "Likely a diadem, crown . . . seen used as an offering to the gods."

(ខ្មែរ​ - ចុម្ពលៈ)

Daeur – Walk.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ដើរ)

Daka – Masculine form of dakini.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឌាក)

Dakini – A female tantric figure sometimes depicted in ritual sexual intercourse or serving as a meditational deity.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឌាកិនី)

Deav – A Khmer dance gesture executed by kicking one leg back and pulling the foot of that leg in towards the lower back.  Deav can be done while standing on one leg or sitting down.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ដៀវ)

Dei - Soil, dirt, earth.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ដី)

Departures​ – An original work choreographed by Chey Chankethya which explores the theme of displacement and migration, performed by artists of Amrita performing arts.

Deurn (Thai) – Walk.  Derived from the Khmer daeur.

Devaraja – 1) A ritual object, possibly a statue or sacred fire that was the source of worship.  2) God king.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ទេវរាជ)

Dharani – The female spirit of the earth in the Buddhist literature of mainland Southeast Asia.​​  Witness to the Buddha's enlightenment and very likely an indigenous goddess.  Sometimes romanized as Thorani.

(ខ្មែរ​ -​ ធរណី)

Dom (Thai) – To hit, strike, or beat.  Derived from the Khmer dom.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ដំ)

Dubhi – Bull who kills his father in the Reamker, challenges Moni Mekhala and the Hemabant before being killed by the monkey king Peali in a cave.

(ខ្មែរ​ -​ ទូភី)

Dvaravati – An ancient Mon kingdom.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ទ្វារវតី)

École des Beaux-Arts – School of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, originally founded by George Groslier.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សាលាវីចិត្រសិល្បៈ)

Ellora – A rock-cut temple featuring Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain art built between the seventh and eleventh centuries CE.

Eros Burning in the Field of Flowers – Original work by Prumsodun Ok which uses Plato’s Symposium as a springboard to address the global history and contemporary realities of gay people.

Fon Nang Keo – A Lao classical dance work that references a Khmer princess bringing dance and Buddhism to the Lao court in the fourteenth century.

Forever My Ancestors – Original work by Charya Burt using Khmer classical dance and music to pay homage to artists of the past.

Funan – Chinese name for the first Khmer polity, from which the Khmer Nokor Phnom takes its name.  The notion that Funan derives from the Khmer word phnom (mountain) was first proposed by George Groslier, and is contested.

(ខ្មែរ​ - នគរភ្នំ)

Gandharva – Celestial musicians, who were also known to dance.  Often husbands of the apsara.

(ខ្មែរ​ - គន្ធរ្វ ឬ គន្ធព្វ)

Garuda – Vishnu’s vehicle, half-man and half-eagle.

(ខ្មែរ​ - គ្រុឌ)

Gatha – Saying, poem, sacred incantation, verse.

(ខ្មែរ - គាថា)

Guru – Sanskrit word for “teacher” or "one who rids of darkness," from which the Khmer kru is derived.

(ខ្មែរបុរាណ​ - គុរុ)

Hagoromo – 1) A feathered plume.  2) Japanese Noh play which describes the descent of a celestial maiden to earth using her hagoromo, and her ensuing encounter with a fisherman.

​Hang – Swan, vehicle of the Hindu god Brahma​.  Derived from the Sanskrit hangsa.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ហង្ស)

Hemakavaca (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "A short skirt worn by women made of gold, an offertory object."

(ខ្មែរ​ - ហេមកវចៈ)

Hetu – Reason.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ហេតុ)

​Hevajra – A tantric deity whose cult was active in Cambodia from the tenth to thirteenth centuries.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ហេវជ្រ)

​Hmathav – One name for the master of ceremonies in Khmer dance rituals.  Derived from Thai language.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ហ្មថាវ)

Hol – A kind of Khmer silk textile that features woven patterns.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ហូល)

Homah – Fire sacrifice performed in the temples of Angkor.  Today this word is haom in Khmer, and its ritual significance can be seen in a pre-performance ritual used to call and pay respect to teacher spirits called haomrong.

(ខ្មែរ​បុរាណ - ហោម)

Inao – A Thai classical dance drama derived from the Javanese story of Panji.  Possibly brought to Cambodia during the reign of King Ang Duong.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឥណាវ)

Inao Bosseba – Khmer classical dance drama based on the Inao story (re)choreographed by Princess Buppha Devi.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឥណាវបុស្សបា)

Indra – The king of heaven in Hindu cosmology, master of the thunderbolt and lord of the atmosphere.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះឥន្ទ្រា)

Indraprastha – 1) City Pandava clan ruled in the Mahabharata.​  2) Khmer and Lao name for the Angkor region during Middle Period.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឥន្ទ្រប្រស្ថ)

Intanu – Pointed epaulets above the shoulders of a neay rong and yeak costume.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឥន្ធនូ)

Isur – Epithet of Shiva.  Also known as Isvar and Isvara.  Modern Khmer romanization is Eyso.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឥសូរ​ ឬ ឥស្វរ ឬ ឥស្វរៈ)

Jain – Someone who proscribes to the Jain faith, which stresses non-violence, multiplicity of reality, asceticism, and non-attachment.

Jataka – A large collection of stories detailing previous incarnations of the Buddha, in which the Buddha would detail some past life of his to teach a certain lesson to the sangha.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ជាតក)

Java – The island of Java in present-day Indonesia, home to kingdoms with whom Khmers have gone to war, traded, and exchanged culture with.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ជ្វា)

Jina – A victorious aspect of the Buddha.  This word can be seen in contemporary Khmer in the names Chinnasrei (for the Buddha) and Chinnavong, a popular Khmer dance character.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ជិន)

Jinendra – Jain teacher cited in Manimekhalai, “on whose teaching Buddhist logic rests.”

Kadamba – 1) A type of seaside oak.  The word has been used in Old Khmer inscriptions.  2) A country in mainland Southeast Asia conquered by King Shenguttavan​ as mentioned in the Manimekhalai.

(ខ្មែរ​បុរាណ - កទម្វ)

Kahbangna (Thai) – Diadem.  Derived from the Khmer word khbamng.

Kai Kray – Term often used to describe dance, specifically a dance-like gait.

(ខ្មែរ​បុរាណ - កែក្រាយ)

Kalinga – A pre-Common Era kingdom in East India that was conquered by Emperor Ashoka.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ក្លិង្គ)

Kambu – Literally meaning “gold,” from which the Khmer progenitor takes his name.  Sometimes romanized as kampu.

(ខ្មែរ​ - កម្ពុ)

Kambuja – The Old Khmer name for Cambodia, from which Kampuchea and Cambodge is derived.  Literally, Kambuja means “born of gold.”

(ខ្មែរ​ - កម្ពុជា)

Kambujadesa – Old Khmer name for Cambodia, literally meaning “land born of gold” and bearing a direct relationship to Indian ideas of Suvarnabhumi.

(ខ្មែរ​ - កម្ពុជាទេស)

Kampong Thom – A province located in the center of Cambodia whose capital city bears the same name.

(ខ្មែរ​ - កំពង់ធំ)


Kampuchea – Contemporary Khmer word for Cambodia.

(ខ្មែរ​ - កម្ពុជា)


Kancheak (Thai) – Elven pieces of jewelry worn behind the ears and attached to a diadem.  Derived from the Khmer tracheak.

Kanchi – A ancient city in southern India.

Kañci (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "A belt for adorning women."

(ខ្មែរ​ - កញ្ចី) 

Kannaki – Kovalan’s queen in the Shilappadikaram, an ancient Tamil epic that is prequel to Manimekhalai.

Kanthi (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "Jewelry for wearing around the neck, chest, and breasts."

(ខ្មែរ​ - កណ្ធី) 

Kantrum – A style of Khmer dance bracelets inspired by rudraksha prayer beads.

(ខ្មែរ​ - កន្ទ្រុំ)

Kanya Chareya – A lakhaon niyeay play meaning “The Ethical Girl.”

(ខ្មែរ​ - កញ្ញាចរិយា)

Kapata (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "A sbai."

(ខ្មែរ​ - កាបដៈ)

​Karuda – Deduction, as referenced in the Manimekhalai.

Karuna – The Buddhist concept of compassion.  See brahmavihara.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ករុណា)

Kantuy Hang – Swan’s tail.

(ខ្មែរ​ - កន្ទុយហង្ស)

Kaundinya – Historical name for Preah Thaong.

(ខ្មែរ​ - កៅណ្ឌិន្យ)

Kaurava – Clan which warred with the Pandavas in the Mahabharata.

(ខ្មែរ​ - កៅរវៈ)

Kbal Spean – A site on Phnom Kulen which features carvings of linga and yonilinga in the riverbed, created sometime between the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ក្បាលស្ពាន)

Kbach bat –The basic movements of Khmer classical dance, used as a warm-up during rehearsals.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ក្បាច់បាត)

Kbach chak – A dance gesture in which a hand in lea is pointed down and out and pulled back up, creating the impression of cutting or piercing the air.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ក្បាច់ចាក់)

Kenar – Creatures who are half-human and half-bird.  Kenarei is the feminine form.  Derived from the Sanskrit kinnara and kinnari, respectively.

(ខ្មែរ​ - កិន្នរ)

Kerala – Province in southern India.

Khamen (Thai) – Derivative of the word Khmer.

Khaol – Literally a type of monkey, but in this case a type of masked dance-theater featuring an all-male cast that performs excerpts from the Reamker.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ខោល)

Khbamng – A diadem worn by neang characters in Khmer dance, and sometimes by young neay rong  characters or those that are half-male and half-female.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ក្បាំង)

Khbin – A pantaloon created by one piece of cloth.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ក្បិន)

Khean – A patterned skirt used for folding into khbin.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ខៀន)

Kheav – Blue.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ខៀវ)

Khimkhat​ – Belt.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ខឹមខាត់)

Khloy – A flute.  Borrowed into Thai and romanized as khluy.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ខ្លុយ)

Khmer – The name which the people of Cambodia use to refer to ourselves and our language.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ខ្មែរ)

Khmer krom – Term which Mons, Thais, and Khmers of the Khorat plateau referred to Khmers in central Cambodia.  The term is still in use today in Cambodia, but by central Khmer to refer to those living in the Mekong delta.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ខ្មែរក្រោម)

Khom (Thai) – Derived from the Old Mon and Old Thai Khmer krom.  Often used to disassociate contemporary Khmers from the classical Khmer culture that Thais hold in high regard.

Khon – Thai word and art form derived from the Khmer khaol.

Khong wong yai (Thai) – A large, round instrument featuring lower-pitched gongs.  Thai variant of the Khmer kong vong thom.

Khun – A title given to women of the palace, usually indicating their status as the king’s wife.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឃុន)

​Khuong – One of four major hand gestures in Khmer classical dance, in which the middle finger and thumb are put together to create a circle as the remaining fingers are pulled back.  It is symbolic of fruit.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ខួង)

Kinnari – Female creatures who are half-bird and half-human.

(ខ្មែរ​ - កិន្នរី)

​Kñum vrah rapam – Old Khmer for “servants of the sacred dance.”  Modern pronounciation is knhom preah robam.

(ខ្មែរទំនើប​ - ខ្ញុំព្រះរបាំ)

Kok Thlok – Colloquial name for ancient Cambodia, island where Preah Thaong met Neang Neak.

(ខ្មែរ​ - គោកធ្លក)

Kong – Gong.

(ខ្មែរ​ - គង)

Kong vong thom – A large, round instrument featuring lower-pitched gongs struck with two mallets by a musician sitting in the center.

(ខ្មែរ​ - គងវង់ធំ)

​Kon Khling – “Kalinga child,” used for Khmers with Indian-like features.

(ខ្មែរ​ - កូនក្លិង្គ)

Konkan – Area in western India.

Konlok – A type of bird said to first take life from three abused and abandoned sisters.  They fly away into the forest as their human mother calls for them, crying, "Konlok! Konlok!" This means "Children of the world!  Children of the world!"

(ខ្មែរ​ - កូនលោក)

Kovalan – Protagonist of the Shilappadikaram, an ancient Tamil epic.


Krabin (Thai) – Derivative of the Khmer khbin.

​Kravil – Earrings.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ក្រវិល)

Kravin (Thai) – Derivative of the Khmer kravil.

Krishna – Avatar of Vishnu, symbol of universal consciousness in the Mahabharata.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះក្រិស្នា)

Krom Robam Preahreacheatrap – Royal Ballet, but more accurately translated as Royal Dance Company.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ក្រុមរបាំព្រះរាជទ្រព្យ)

Krtya (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "Tradition, norm, important functions, amazing."

(ខ្មែរ​ - ក្រឹត្យា)

Kru – Derived from the Sanskrit guru, meaning “one who rids of darkness.”

(ខ្មែរ​ - គ្រូ)

Krut – Derived from the Sanskrit garuda, half-man and half-eagle, the vehicle of Vishnu.

(ខ្មែរ​ - គ្រុឌ)

​Ksatra – Prince.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ក្សត្រា)

​Ksatrei – Princess.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ក្សត្រិយ៍)

​Kshatriya – The warrior-ruler class in the Indian caste system.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ក្សត្រិយ)

Kupen (Sanskrit) – See khbin.

(ខ្មែរ​ - កុបេនៈ)

Kyal - Wind, air.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ខ្យល់)

Laeung neak ta – A ritual appeasing the territorial and ancestor spirits to ask for the fall of rain.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឡើងអ្នកតា)

Lagon (Javanese) – 1) Play, drama, act, story.  2) A non-narrative style of Javanese chant describing the beauty of the dancers, performed before the dancing begins.  Sometimes romanized lakuan.  Possibly source of Khmer word lakhaon.

​Lakhaon – Theater.  Sometimes romanized as lakhaoun and possibly derived from the Thai word lakhon or Javanese lagon.

(ខ្មែរ​ -​ ល្ខោន)

Lakhaon niyeay – A relatively naturalistic form of spoken theater, often dealing with contemporary issues, introduced to Cambodia in the modern era.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ល្ខោននិយាយ)

Lakhaon preahreacheatrap  – “Theater of the king’s treasure,” in reference to dance of the royal court.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ល្ខោនព្រះរាជទ្រព្យ)

​Lakhaoun – See lakhaon.

(ខ្មែរ​ -​ ល្ខោន)

​Lakhaoun bassac – A form of theater inspired by Vietnamese opera.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ល្ខោនបាសាក់)

​Lakhaoun bramothai – A form of modern musical theater introduced to Cambodia in the beginning of the twentieth century which primarily had female performers and used an "orchestre."

(ខ្មែរ​ - ល្ខោនប្រាមោទ្យទ័យ)

​Lakhon – The Thai variant of lakhaon, possibly from where the Khmer word derived.

​Lakhon nai – Thailand’s theater of the interior court, or the all-female court dance tradition.

​Lakuan – See lagon.

Lakshmana – Youngest brother of Prince Rama, who faithfully follows him into the forest and into the battlefield.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះលាក្ស្មណ)

Langka – Island kingdom of Reab and his demons in the Reamker.

(ខ្មែរ​ - លង្កា)

Lan Xang – Lao kingdom established by Fa Ngum with the support of the Khmer court, his Khmer wife was believed to have brought a troupe of dancers and Theravada Buddhism with her.

​Lavodayapura – An old Khmer city in present day Thailand.  Sometimes shortened as Lavo, Lawo, or Lopburi.

(ខ្មែរបុរាណ​ - លវោទយបុរ)

Lea – 1) A primary hand gesture in Khmer classical dance, in which the thumb is crooked forward as the remaining four fingers are curved back.  The gesture represents a leaf.  2) A closing melody used to end short dances of the repertoire.

(ខ្មែរ​ - លា)

​Leach – Popped rice.

(ខ្មែរ​ - លាជ)

Legend of Apsara Mera – Dance choreographed by Princess Buppha Devi which retells the story of Mera and Kampu, ancestors of the Khmer people, and incorporating older dances.

(ខ្មែរ​ - អប្សរាមេរា)

Len (Thai) – Play, in this case meaning both a dramatic performance and the act of performing a dramatic work. Derived from the Khmer word leng.

(ខ្មែរ​ - លេង)

​Len dukdamban – A Thai theatrical performance believed by some scholars to be derived from Khmer performances of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk.

Leng - To play, to perform.

(ខ្មែរ​ - លេង)

Linga – A ritual phallus symbolic of Shiva.

(ខ្មែរ​ - លិង្គ)

L'Oiseau de paradis – Film directed by French director Marcel Camus in 1962, featuring use of Khmer dance and shadow puppets and more.

(ខ្មែរ​ -​ រឿងបក្សីស្ថានសួគ៌)

Lokesvara – The bodhisattva of compassion, with whom King Jayavarmann VII identified with.

(ខ្មែរ​ - លោកេស្វរ)

Lok Ta Moni Eisey – The ultimate teacher spirit in Khmer dance, possibly a syncretism between Bharata Muni and local ancestor spirits.  Others identify him with Shiva.

(ខ្មែរ​ - លោកតាមុនីឥសី)

Longvek – Khmer capital after the fall of Angkor in present day Kampong Chhnang province.

(ខ្មែរ​ - លង្វែក)

​Lopburi – See Lavodayapura.

(ខ្មែរ​ - លពបុរី)

Lotus Sutra – A Mahayana Buddhist text written by the second century CE.

Lovek – See Longvek.

(ខ្មែរ​ - លង្វែក)

Love Me Rachana – Original work by Prumsodun Ok, which appropriates movements from one scene of the Preah Sang dance drama to explore a love defiant of social pressures.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ស្រឡាញ់ខ្ញុំរចនា)

Lpoek Nokor – A post-Angkorean poem detailing the Reamker, as based on the bas-relief carvings at Angkor Wat.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ល្បើកនគរ)

Madhavi – The dancer with whom Kovalan falls in love in the Shilappadikaram.  Mother of Manimekhalai, protagonist of the Manimekhalai.

Mahabharata – A Hindu epic that explores the war between rival royal clans, the Pandava and Kaurava, for the throne.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មហាភារតៈ)

Mahajanaka – Protagonist of Mahajanaka Jataka​.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះមហាជនក)

Mahajanaka Jataka – A jataka about Prince Mahajanaka, who sails to Suvarnabhumi, is shipwrecked, saved by the goddess Moni Mekhala, gains the throne taken from his uncle, and later renounces it for Buddhist practice.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មហាជនកជាតក)

Mahaphutarub tamng buon – Literally, “all those great things that can be seen,” a Buddhist reference to the elements of water, earth, fire, and air from which all matter in our cosmos is made of.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មហាភូតរូបទាំងបួន)

Mahasiddha – A yogi or yogini who, through ritual meditation, gains magic powers and spiritual transcendence.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មហាសិទ្ធ)

Mahasiddha Mekhala – Mekhala, as known in Tibet. The elder sister of the Headless Yoginis.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មហាសិទ្ធមេខលា)

Mahaosrab​​ – Festival, derived from the mahotsava.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មហោស្រព)


Mahayana​ – Literally “great vehicle,” a school of Buddhism which includes a large pantheon of deities and more readily syncretized Hindu elements.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មហាយាន)

Mahotsava – Old Khmer word for festivals staged by kings of Angkor.

(ខ្មែរបុរាណ​ - មហោត្សវៈ)

Makar – A sea creature symbolic of water that is sometimes described as being like a serpent, sometimes like a crocodile, sometimes like a fish in Hindu cosmology.  Vehicle of Varuna, god of the Western Seas, as well as of Moni Mekhala, Ganga, and other water deities.  Derived from the Sanskrit, makara.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មករ)

Makuta (Sanskrit) – Crown.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មកុដ)

Malabar – Area on the coast of western India.

Mam – Title for the king’s wife or concubine.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ម៉ម)

Mandala – A cosmogram that can take circular or square-like form, symbolic of the creative power of the universe.  Usually has one deity in the center, as if all of life emanates from its core.  Literally, meaning “circle.”

(ខ្មែរ​ - មណ្ឌល)

Mani – Jewel, gem.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មណី)

Manimekhala – Goddess of the Ocean in Tamil literature and in certain Southeast Asian countries.  Believed by some to be an indigenous Southeast Asian deity.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មណីមេខលា)

Manimekhalai – Protagonist of the Manimekhalai, an ancient Tamil Buddhist epic.

Manipallavam​ – Island that Manimekhala flies Manimekhalai to, where the latter discovers a footprint of the Buddha and receives the magic bowl known as “Cow of Abundance.”

Mañjushri – Bodhisattva of transcendent wisdom, who wields a sword which pierces through illusion and a lotus which bears the sutra.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មញ្ជុឝ្រី)

Mantra(s) – Sacred prayers which are believed to be efficacious when coming to life through sound and recitation.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មន្ត្រ ឬ មន្ត)

Mara – The demon who tries to obstruct the Buddha’s path towards enlightenment but is vanquished by Thorani.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មារ)

Maum  – Honorific given to women of the palace, usually indicating their status as wives of the king.​  Also romanized Mam.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ម៉ម)

Mazu – Chinese goddess of the South China Sea.

Me – Mother, master, leader.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មេ)

Meas – Gold.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មាស)

Mekhala – 1) Goddess of the ocean and waters.  2) Belt, derived from the Sanskrit mekala.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មេខលា)

Mekhala Ramasun​ – Thai variant of Moni Mekhala Ream Eyso, originally derived from the Old Khmer source as evidenced through language and thematic elements.

Melim – Closing melody and dance of Robam Tamng Buon, a sacred work of the Khmer classical dance canon.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មេលឹម)

Mera – Queen of the apsara, wife of Kampu, mother of the Khmer race.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មេរា)

Metta – The Buddhist concept of friendship.  See brahmavihara.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មេត្តា)

Mkot sruoch – Tall pointed crown worn by both male and female characters in Khmer classical dance, reminiscent of Buddhist chedei and symbolic of spiritual and political maturity.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មកុដស្រួច)

Mongkul Lokey​​ – An original work by Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, set to John Zorn’s Shir Ha-Shirim.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មង្គលលោកីយ៍)

Moni – 1) A wise person or scholar, radiant through their knowledge.  2) Epithet of the Buddha.  Derived from the Sanskrit muni.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មុនី)

Moni Mekhala – Khmer goddess of the ocean, protector of travelers, chosen leader of Lok Ta Moni Eisey’s lineage.  Believed by some to be an indigenous deity.  Sometimes spelled meghala, thereby connecting her with the rain clouds—surely ancient artists, poets, and priests intended this pun in her name.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មុនីមេខលា)

Moni Mekhala Ream Eyso – Khmer story explaining the origins of lightning, thunder, and rain, performed yearly in dance ritual for the fall and flow of life-giving waters.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មុនីមេខលារាមឥសូរ)

Monju Bosatsu​ (Japanese) – Bodhisattva of transcendent wisdom, Mañjushri.

Mot tip – Magic mouth.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មាត់ទិព្វ)

Mount Meru – The center of the universe in Hindu conceptions, home of the gods.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មេរុ)

Mudita – Buddhist concept of altruistic joy.  See brahmavihara.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មុទិតា)

Mudra(s) – Sacred hand gestures, used in both ritual and dance performances.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មុទ្រា)

Mul – Round.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មូល)

Muni – 1) A wise person or scholar, radiant through their knowledge.  2) Epithet for the Buddha.

(ខ្មែរ​ - មុនី)

My Mothers and I – Original dance-theater solo by Chey Chankethya.


Naga – A race of mythical serpents from whom Khmers trace our lineage to, often associated with the ocean and water.

(ខ្មែរ​ - នាគ)

Nai Roong (Thai) – Performer of male roles, variant of Khmer neay rong.

Nak (Thai) – Thai derivative of the Old Khmer anak.

Nakhon – Thai derivative of the Khmer nokor.

Nakon Rajasima – City and province in Thailand.

Nang (Thai) – Leather shadow play.

Nang aik (Thai) – Star female character, variant of the Khmer neang aik.

Narasingha – A half-man, half-lion avatar of Vishnu.

(ខ្មែរ​ - នរសិង្ហ)

Natasatra (Thai) – Derived from Natyashastra, likely by way of Khmer.

Natasin (Thai) – Classical dance, by combining the Sanskrit terms nata (dance) and silpa (art).

Natyashastra – Text of performative knowledge compiled by Bharata Muni, first human to receive knowledge of the arts in Hindu tradition.

(ខ្មែរ​ - នាដសាស្ត្រ)

Nautch – A Romanization of the Prakrit nachcha, which means “dance,” and was often used to describe Indian devadasi by viewers in the modern era.

Neak – Powerful serpent race associated with earth and water, bridge between heaven and earth and ancestor of Khmer people.  Able to transform into human beings.  Sanskrit variant is naga.

(ខ្មែរ​ - នាគ)

Neak Poan – Twelfth-century pilgrimage site which featured four bathing ponds, each representing the elements of water, earth, fire, and wind.

​(ខ្មែរ​ - នាគព័ន្ធ)

Neang – Lady or, in the dance, female character.

(ខ្មែរ​ - នាង)

Neang Seda – Wife of Preah Ream in the Reamker.

(ខ្មែរ​ - នាងសេដា)

Neang aik – Literally “lone lady” or "first lady," meaning star female character.

(ខ្មែរ​ - នាងឯក)

Neang Neak – Neak mother of the Khmer lunar dynasty, wife of Preah Thaong.

(ខ្មែរ​ - នាងនាគ)

Neay rong – Male character.

(ខ្មែរ​ - នាយរោង)

Neduvil Killi – Character in Manimekhalai, whose union with a naga princess bears resemblance to Preah Thaong.

Ngai lan – Romanization of Chinese transliteration by George Coedes, denoting a day or days of ritual dancing in thirteenth-century Angkor as described by Zhou Daguan.

Nguoh – Character that is half-human and half-demon, depicted with a black mask and considered uncouth in the universe of the stage.  Referred to by old Eurocentric writers as a negrito.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ងោះ)

Nhar – Pieces of jewelry in crown and hair ornaments that shake and quiver.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ញ័រ)

Nigama – Summary, conclusion.

(ខ្មែរ​ - និគម)

Nokor – City.  Derived from the Sanskrit nagara.

(ខ្មែរ​ - នគរ)

Nokor Phnom – Contemporary name for the first Khmer polity, of whose name is derived from the Chinese Funan.

(ខ្មែរ​ - នគរភ្នំ)

Nyai Roro Kidul – Java’s Queen of the Southern Seas.

Óc Eo – City in modern Vietnam, site of a Nokor Phnom city.  Derived from the Khmer Or Kaiv.

Of Land and Sky – Interdisciplinary theater work created by Prumsodun Ok, inspired by the story Tip Sodachan among others.

Of Spirits Intertwined – Original work by Charya Burt, Vishnu Tattva Das, and Melody Takata.

Orajun – Thai variant of Vorachhun, believed by some to come from the name Arjuna.

Or Kaiv – Modern name for ancient Nokor Phnom city.  See Óc Eo.

(ខ្មែរ​ - អូរកែវ)

Oudong – Old post-Angkor capital of Cambodia, north of Phnom Penh.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឧដុង្គ)

Paksha – Given fact.

Pañcotsava – Annual five religious festivals staged by Angkorean kings.

(ខ្មែរបុរាណ​ - បញ្ចោត្សវៈ)

Pandava – Heroic kshatriya clan in the Mahabharata.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បាណ្ឌវៈ)

Panhcharet – A diadem worn by male characters in Khmer dance, possibly meaning "five jewels" and reminiscent of the five-crested diadems worn by asora at Angkor Wat.  Clear relation to tantric Buddhist imagery.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ពញ្ចរេ៉ត)

Panji – A Javanese tale which gave inspiration to Thailand’s Inao.

Paramasur – Old name for Ream Eyso.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បរមសូរ)

Parashurama – Rama of the Axe, precursor to Cambodia’s Ream Eyso.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បរឝុរាម)

Parjanya – Vedic god of rain and fertility.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បជ៌ន្យ)

Peali – Monkey king who kills Dhubi, attempts to kill his own brother Sugrib in the Reamker.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ពាលី)

Pedanataka (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "Dancers performing as a group, to dance as a group."

(ខ្មែរ​ - បេទានាតក)

Pen pot – Twisting and turning in a serpentine fashion, used to describe Moni Mekhala.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ពេនព័ទ្ធ)

Phaka (Thai) – Flower.  Derived from the Khmer phka.

Phdao – Rattan.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ផ្តៅ)

Phimai – See Vimayapura.

Phimeanakas – Temple where Indravarmann III climbed nightly to sexually unite with the spirit of the land.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ភិមានអាកាស)

Phinphat – Thai derivative of the Khmer pin peat.  No longer in usage in contemporary Thai.

Phiphat – Thai variant of the Khmer pin peat, this time emphasis placed on the phi (a type of oboe). 

Phirun – Khmer variant of Varuna, god of ocean and water in the Khmer context.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ពិរុណ)

Phiti Pathomkam – Fictional ritual described in Thai royal chronicles, in which a Thai king beheaded a Khmer king and washed his own feet in the blood.

Phithi wai kru – Thai variant of the sampeah kru ritual.

Phka – Flower.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ផ្កា)

Phka Kngaok – Literally, “peacock flower,” sometimes placed onto baysei.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ផ្កាក្ងោក)

Phleng – Music.  Carried over into Thai language.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ភ្លេង)

Phleung – Fire.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ភ្លើង)

Phlom – To blow.  Carried over into Thai language.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ផ្លុំ)

Phnom Kulen – Mountain where King Jayavarmann II first declared himself universal monarch and thus beginning the Angkor era.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ភ្នំគូលែន)

Phnom Penh – Current capital of Cambodia, situated at the convergence of four rivers.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ភ្នំពេញ)

Phrai (Thai) – Social class in Thai feudal society just higher than a slave.

Phra In (Thai) – Variant of Preah Indr, or Indra, the king of heaven.

Phra Lak (Thai) – Variant of Preah Leak.

Phra Ram (Thai) – Variant of Preah Ream.

Phra Ruesi (Thai) – Teacher spirit in Thai dance.

Phra Thawng (Thai) – Thai variant of Preah Thaong.

Pi (Thai) – An oboe, borrowed from the Khmer pei.

Pin – A type of harp.  Derived from the Sanskrit vina.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ពិណ)

Pingala (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "Brown, a deep red . . . colored like Shiva."

(ខ្មែរ​ - បិង្គល)

Pin peat – “Led by the pin,” the contemporary Khmer classical music orchestra which consists of bamboo and teak xylophones, circular gongs, drums, and a double-reed oboe at the least.  Accompanied by vocalists.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ពិណពាទ្យ)

Po – A diamond-shaped emblem worn at the chest of masculine characters in Khmer dance today, sitting right where the crisscrossing bands of sangvar intersect.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ពោធិ)

Pochani Pavilion – A dance pavilion in the royal palace compound in Phnom Penh.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះទីន័ងភោជនីយ)

Pol – A stylized form of narrative chanting used in khaol, known in Old Khmer epigraphy as vol.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ពោល)

Popil – A spade-shaped item with a handle used in Khmer dance rituals and other ceremonies.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ពពិល)

Prachol – To collide, combat.  Carried over into Thai.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ប្រជល់)

Prakuot – To compete, rival.  Carried over into Thai.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ប្រកួត)


Pralaing – To tease, taunt, flirt, play.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ប្រឡែង)

Praleng (Thai) – 1) Thai derivative of pralaing.  2) An opening dance.

Pranamng – To race.  Carried into Thai.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ប្រណាំង)

Prasat – Religious monument.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ប្រាសាទ)

Pravaini (Sanskrit) – Tradition, custom.  Modern Khmer: prabaini.

(ខ្មែរបុរាណ​ - ប្រវៃនិ; ខ្មែរទំនើប - ប្រពៃណី)

Preah Khan – Twelfth-century temple built during the reign of King Jayavarmann VII in dedication to his father.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ប្រាសាទព្រះខ័ន)

Preah Ko –​​ Ninth-century Khmer temple, built during the reign of King Indravarmann I.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ប្រាសាទព្រះគោ)


Preah Leak – Youngest brother of Preah Ream, who is his faithful follower.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះលក្ស្មណ៍)

Preah Ream – Prince Rama, protagonist of the Reamker epic.  Avatar of Vishnu who was later described by Khmers as a bodhisattva after the fall of Angkor.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះរាម)

Preah Samuth Neang Puth Somaly – A Khmer classical dance drama.

Preah Thaong – 1) Father of the Khmer lunar race, a brahmin who married Neang Neak.  2) The first dance and melody in Robam Tamng Buon.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះថោង)

Preah Thaong Neang Neak – Story which explains the mytho-historical origins of the Khmer people, in which a Brahmin from India (Preah Thaong) marries a naga princess named Neang Neak.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះថោងនាងនាគ)

Pre Rup – Tenth-century temple built during the reign of King Rajendravarmann.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ប្រែរូប)

PRUM x POP – A series of short dances created by Prumsodun Ok and set to pop music.

P’taong – A pendant or amulet hanging off of a necklace.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បន្តោង)

Puhar – Ancient Indian city in the south of India, swallowed up by the sea in the Manimekhalai.

Puranas – A wide-ranging collection of tales from India.  Literally, the word means “ancient, old” and is the source of the Khmer word boran.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បុរាណ)

Purohita – A brahmin in charge of Hindu rituals in the royal palace.

(ខ្មែរ​ - បុរោហិត)

Rabam (Thai) – Derivative of the Khmer word and art form robam.

Rabam Lopburi – Thai dance work inspired by the temple of Lavodayapura.

Rabam Si Bot – Thai version of Robam Tamng Buon.

Rabeng (Thai) – Derivative of the Khmer lbaing, meaning “game.”

Rachana – Female protagonist in the Preah Sang drama, beaten by her older sisters for choosing to marry the nguoh.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រចនា)

Ram – To dance, an Old Khmer root word.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រាំ)

Ram – See Rama.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះរាម)

Rama – Prince of Ayodhya, hero of the Ramayana epic.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះរាម)

Ramakerti I – One of two versions of the Reamker composed after the fall of Angkor.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រាមកេរ្តិ៍)

Ramakian – Thai version of the Reamker, its title derived from the Khmer name.  Sometimes romanized as Ramakien.

Ramam – Old Khmer word for dancer.

(ខ្មែរបុរាណ​ - ម៌្មាំ)

Ramaparamasur – Old name for Ream Eyso.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រាមបរមសូរ)

Ramasun – Thai variant of Ream Eyso.

Ramayana – Ancient Hindu epic exploring the adventures of Prince Rama, prince of Ayodhya, and his ensuing war with Ravana, the demon king of Langka.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រាមាយាណៈ)

Ramesur – Old name Ream Eyso.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រាមេសូរ)

Ram Kamhaeng stele – Historically contested stele associated with Sukhothai, believed by some to be fabricated by King Mongkut of Thailand.

Ranat (Thai) – A wooden xylophone, borrowed from the Khmer roneat.

Rapam – Old Khmer word for dance or dancer.  Sometimes romanized rpam.

(ខ្មែរបុរាណ​ - របំ)

Rashi – Path, level, cosmic direction.  Source of the Khmer word reasei.

(សំស្ក្រឹត - រាឝិ)

Ratchasap (Thai) – Royal vocabulary and language, derived and developed from the Khmer reachasap.

Rath Neari – Jewel of a lady, bejeweled woman.

(ខ្មែរកណ្ដាល - រតន៍នារី; ខ្មែរទំនើប - រ័ត្ននារី)

Rath Pen Poat – Gems snaking and encircling around.

(ខ្មែរកណ្ដាល - រតន៍ពេនព័ទ្ធ; ខ្មែរទំនើប - រ័ត្នពេនព័ទ្ធ)

Ratnasambhava – A Buddhist jina, or victorious aspect of the Buddha, depicted with gold skin.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រត្នសម្ភវ)

Rattanakosin – Thai historical era after the fall of the Ayutthaya, in which Bangkok became the capital and colonial powers came onto the national and regional stage.

Ravana – The demon king of Langka, villain of the Ramayana.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រាវណ)

Reab – Khmer variant of Ravana.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រាពណ៍)

Reachasap – Khmer royal vocabulary and language.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រាជសព្ទ)

Ream Eyso – Axe-wielding demon in Moni Mekhala Ream Eyso whose name can mean “Rama of Shiva.”  Derived from the name Parashurama.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រាមឥសូរ)

Reamker – Khmer version of the Hindu epic tale, Ramayana, which follows the adventures of Preah Ream (Prince Rama) as he is exiled from Ayuthyea, attempts to save his wife Neang Seda, and eventually regains the throne.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រាមកេរ្តិ៍)

Reamleak – Biological child of Preah Ream and Seda.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រាមលក្ស្មណ៍)

Reasei – Literally “path” or “level” and implying the possession of vital and essential life and spiritual forces that dictate one’s earthly circumstances.  Derived from the Sanskrit word rashi.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រាសី)

Re ram – 1) As translated by Ly Theam Teng, a type of narrative dance performed in the court of Angkor mentioned by Zhou Daguan.  The term is still used frequently in Khmer dance works such as Moni Mekhala Ream Eyso.  2) To sway and dance.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រេរាំ)

Rig Veda – The oldest extant Hindu text, featuring praises to the gods.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឫគ៑វេទ)

Rmam – Old Khmer word, which Coedes describes as the dancers of Angkor.

(ខ្មែរបុរាណ​ - ម៌្មាំ)

Robam – A short, “pure” or non-dramatic dance work that attempts to capture a state of being.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំ)

Robam Apsara – “Dance of the Celestial Dancers,” one of the most popular works of the Khmer dance canon which depicts Mera, queen of the apsara and mother of the Khmer race, emerging from temple walls to play in a garden with her attendants.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំអប្សរា)

Robam Buong Suong Tiyae – A sacred, offertory solo in which a woman makes a pilgrimage for the sake of her troubled land.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំបួងសួងតាយ៉ែ)

Robam Buong Suong Yokon – A sacred solo in which a half-male and half-female brahmin makes offerings to the “gods of every direction and place” for the well-being of society.  Choreographed by Mam Dak Peay.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំបួងសួងយ៉កន)

Robam Chhmar – Literally “Little Dance” or “Petite Dance,” a short dance performed by Chea Samy at the funeral of King Sisowath in 1927.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំឆ្មារ)

Robam Chhuoy Chhay Buong Suong – A sacred dance invoking Indra for the fall of rain whose lyrical section is set to the chhuoy chhay melody.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំឈួយឆាយបួងសួង)

Robam Chos Srang – A classical dance work depicting Preah Onarut and his men bathing in a pond.  Choreographed by Mam Yann.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំចុះស្រង់)

Robam Chun Por – Literally “Blessing Dance,” one of the most popular works of the Khmer dance canon in which female tevoda toss flowers upon the stage.​​  Choreographed by Mam Dak Peay.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំជូនពរ)

Robam Kbach Boran – Literally “dance of ancient gestures” or, in other words, classical dance.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំក្បាច់បុរាណ)

Robam Knhom Preah Silapak – New devotional work created by Prumsodun Ok, inspired images of the yogini.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំខ្ញុំព្រះសិល្បៈ)

Robam Kolab Phnom Penh – Dance work set on contemporary Khmer pop music, meaning “Rose of Phnom Penh.”

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំកុលាបភ្នំពេញ)

Robam Lom Arom – Original work by Prumsodun Ok, which sets Khmer dance onto sound and uses video projection, and depicts a woman waiting for her absent husband.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំលោមអារម្មណ៍)

Robam Makar – Closing dance of Moni Mekhala Ream Eyso in which the dancers carry fans and form a makar. Choreographed by Mam Dak Peay.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំមករ)

Robam Moni Mekhala – Excerpt of Moni Mekhala Ream Eyso, depicting Mekhala’s battle with the demon.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំមុនីមេខលា)

Robam Monosanchetana – A short dance work depicting the meeting and separation of a prince and princess in a garden.  

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំមនោសញ្ចេតនា)

Robam Pka Meas Pka Prak – Dance in which princes descend from heaven to offer gold and silver flowers, often used to open the stage.​​  The dance used to only have music but was re-choreographed with lyrics by Mam Yann to honor the coronation of King Norodom Suramarit.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំផ្កាមាសផ្កាប្រាក់)

Robam Reasmei Duong Chantrea – An original work choreographed by Soth Somaly, which sets Khmer classical dance onto modernized traditional music.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំរស្មីដួងចន្ទ្រា)

Robam Santhyea Vehea – An original work by Prumsodun Ok which uses Khmer classical dance, music, and costuming to depict the love and marriage of two men.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំសន្ធយាវេហា)

Robam Tamng Buon – A sacred work of the Khmer dance canon performed in the buong suong ritual and preceding Moni Mekhala Ream Eyso.  Considered one of the oldest dances in the repertoire.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំទាំងបួន)

Robam Tep Monorom – “Dance of Heavenly Bliss,” one of the most popular works of the canon today that depicts the celestial courtship of gods and goddesses.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំទេពមនោរម្យ)

Robam Teveak Srei Suor – A short dance work choreographed by Menh Kossany, depicting celestial women who execute the popular gesture associated with dance at Angkor known by some as ardhaparyanka.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំទេវៈស្រីសួគ៌)

Robam Tevet – A short dance depicting the celestial harmony of gods and goddesses.  Choreographed by Mam Yann.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំទេវេទ)

Robam Yon Kabi – A martial dance work that depicts the combat between a male and demon character, or two groups of male and demon characters.

(ខ្មែរ​ - របាំយ៉ូនកាបុី)

Roeung – Story, drama, tale.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រឿង)

Roeung Kailas – Drama in which the daughters of the king of heaven descend from Kailas using the power of their sbai.  As they bathe, the youngest one has her sbai stolen and stays in the human world as the wife of a prince.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រឿងកៃលាស)

Roeung Preah Sang – A dramatic dance work found in both Khmer and Thai repertoires which follows Preah Sang, a young prince who is adopted by a demoness, runs away, and eventually disguises himself as a nguoh to test the virtue of Rachana.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រឿងព្រះស័ង្ខ)

Roneat – A wooden xylophone, made with either teak or bamboo keys.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រនាត)

Rong ram – A dancing shed or stage for dancing.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រងរាំ)

Rot khlaov – A type of crown worn by female characters, topped by hang tail-shaped finials.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រត្នក្លាវ)

Rpam – Old Khmer for dance.

(ខ្មែរបុរាណ​ - រ្បម)

Rudhira (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "Colored red like blood or a gem that is blood-colored."

(ខ្មែរ​ - រុធិរ)

Rudraksha – Prayer beads that are sometimes strung into necklaces or bracelets.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រុទ្រាក្ឞ)

Rung Rith Sithisak – Firm efficacious power.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រឹងឫទ្ធិសិទ្ធិស័ក្ក)

Roeung Rith Sithisak – Brilliant efficacious power.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រឿងឫទ្ធិសិទ្ធិស័ក្ក)


Sabai (Thai) – Derivative of the Khmer sbai.

Saddha – Teachings of the Buddha.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សទ្ធា)

Sadhana – Ritual meditation.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សាធន)

SajakThor – Dance film featuring choreography and performance by Belle Chumvan Sodhachivy.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សច្ចធម្ម)

Samantabhadra – A bodhisattva associated with meditation, patron of the Lotus Sutra.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សមន្តភទ្រ)

Samastabharana – From Pou's Lexique: "Fully adorned with jewelry . . . Shiva dancing and fully adorned."

(ខ្មែរ​ - សមស្តាភរណៈ)

Sambok – Shell.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សំបក)

Sampeah – Gesture of pressing one’s palms together in prayer.  Variant of the Javanese sembah.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សំពះ)

Sampeah Kru – Khmer dance ritual honoring the spirits of deceased dance masters, territorial spirits, and the gods.  Can come in both large (sampeah kru thom) and small (sampeah kru toch) forms.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សំពះគ្រូ)

Samphor – A double-headed hand drum. 

(ខ្មែរ​ - សម្ភោរ ឬ សំភោរ)

Sampot – A long piece of fabric that can be worn as a sarong or tied into a khbin.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សំពត់)

Sampot chang khbin – Skirt tied into pantaloons.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សំពត់ចងក្បិន)

Sanba – Romanization of Zhou Daguan’s rendering of sampeah.

Sangha – The Buddhist clergy.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សង្ឃ)

Sangvar – A piece of jewelry made by crisscrossing bands in which the head and arms must be passed through.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សង្វារ)

Sangwan (Thai) – Derivative of Khmer sangvar.

Santih – Tantric ritual designed to avert danger and ensure safety of kingdom.  Modern resonance of the word can be seen in santisok (security guard).

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឝាន្តិះ)

Saoma – 1) Neang Neak, mytho-historical ancestor of the Khmer people.  2) A lunar deity.  3) A plant or root used to make the elixir of life.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សោម)

Sapan (Thai) – Bridge.  Derivative of Khmer spean.

Sarabarong – Third dance and melody in Robam Tamng Buon.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សារបរុង)

Saramani – Novel written by Roland Meyer about a Khmer classical dancer during the reigns of King Norodom and King Sisowath.  Named after the protagonist and inclusive of many real people.

Sarangi (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "Likely a piece of jewelry of the gods, worn around the neck (for protection) . . . Modern Khmer: srang ka."

(ខ្មែរ​ - សរាង្គី ឬ សរាងគី)

Sastra – A sacred text.

(ខ្មែរ - សាស្ត្រ)

Satyapala (Sanskrit) – Protector of truth.

(ខ្មែរបុរាណ​ - សត្យបាល)

Sbai – A long piece of cloth worn by women and female characters in Khmer dance, wrapping around the torso to cover the breasts and falling down the back.  It comes in two forms: sbai tol leaves the right shoulder bare while the sbai phluoh (twin sbai) or sbai thom (large sbai) covers both shoulders.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ស្បៃ)

Sbek thom – Large puppet shadow play.  Can be referred to as simply sbek.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ស្បែកធំ)

Seasons of Migration – An original work choreographed by Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, which uses classical dance and music to explore the idea of culture shock.

(ខ្មែរ​ - រដូវចយាត្រា)

Sembah – Javanese variant of sampeah.

Shaduvan – Merchant in the Manimekhalai, who speaks to the conversion of the Naga peoples of Southeast Asia.

Shankalan – Young man who dies from fear after seeing a yogini dance on and eat a corpse in the Manimekhalai.

Shenguttavan – King who conquered the nation of Kadamba, believed by Danielou to be Champa (but which he ascribes to modern day Cambodia).

Shilappadikaram – An ancient Tamil epic, following a king’s love for a dancer and the circumstances that pull them apart.  Prequel to Manimekhalai.

Shiva – The god of destruction in Hinduism, creator and destroyer of the universe through his cosmic dance.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះសិវៈ ឬ ព្រះឥសូរ)

Shivaite – Worshipper of Shiva.

Siam – Old name for Thailand or for Thai people.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សៀម)

Siddhi – Magic powers in the tantric context.  This word resonates in contemporary Khmer in the words sithisak or saksith (efficacious) and sith (rights).

(ខ្មែរ​ - សិទ្ធិ)

Sikhasiva – From Pou's Lexique: "Shiva with a chignon sharply pointed up."

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឝិខាឝិវៈ ឬ សិខាសិវៈ)

Silapak – Art.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សិល្បៈ)

Singha – Lion.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សិង្ហ)

Smao chinchean – Literally “ring grass,” a type of grass worn in the hair of students during sampeah kru.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ស្មៅចិញ្ចៀន)

Smeu – A melody used to introduce important characters on stage.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ស្មឹ)

Smot – A Buddhist form of chant-song sometimes described as “dharma songs.”

(ខ្មែរ​ - ស្មូត)

Sophanaka – The younger sister of Reab, who first initiates contact with Preah Ream, Seda, and Preah Leak.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សូរបនខា)

Sovannahang – Khmer dance drama first choreographed during the reign of Queen Kossamak Nearyrath and restaged by Princess Buppha Devi.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សុវណ្ណហង្ស)

Sovann Machha Hanuman – Episode from the Reamker, which depicts the encounter between Hanuman and Sovann Macha, the golden fish, who has ordered the bridge to Langka be deconstructed.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សុវណ្ណមច្ឆាហនុមាន)

Sovannaphum – Land of gold, derived from the Sanskrit Suvarnabhumi.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សុវណ្ណភូមិ)

Spean – Bridge.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ស្ពាន)

Sralai – Double-reed oboe.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ស្រឡៃ)

Srang ka – A piece of jewelry wrapping around the collar.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សុរងក)


Srei Koch – Bad or broken woman.  This can also be plural.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ស្រីខូច)

Sros Tong Vong – Precious, living gold.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ស្រស់ទងវង)

Sruk – Land.  Sometimes romanized sruk.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ស្រុក)

Stained – Original work of Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, which casts a feminist lens on Seda’s relationship with both Preah Ream and Reab.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ស្លាកស្នាមអតីត)

Stuoy – Khmer dance gesture meaning beautiful, wonderful, great.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ស្ទួយ)

Subarnavasana (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "A skirt ornamented with gold."

(ខ្មែរ​ - សុពណ៌វសនៈ)

Sukhodayapura – Old Khmer city now in modern day Thailand, precursor to Sukhothai.

(ខ្មែរបុរាណ​ - សុខោទយបុរ)

Sukhothai – The earliest Thai nation in mainland Southeast Asia.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សុខោទ័យ)

Supana Matcha Hanuman​ – Thai version of Sovann Machha Hanuman.

Suvarnabhumi – “Land of Gold” often referred to in the jataka, associated with Southeast Asia.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សុវណ៌ភូមិ)

Suvarnaracita (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "Ornamented and lacquered with gold."

(ខ្មែរ​ - សុវរណរចិត ឬ សុពណ៌រចិត)

Suvarnavasana (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "A skirt ornamented with gold."

(ខ្មែរ​ - សុវណ៌វសនៈ)

Sva – Monkey.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ស្វា)

Symposium​ – Philosophical treatise on the nature of love written by Plato.

Talapoins – Buddhist monks.

Tam Chamnam – According to memory, custom, or tradition.

(ខ្មែរ​ - តាមចំណាំ)

Tamleam Tamloap – Tradition, cultural practices, custom.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ទំលាមទម្លាប់)

Tantrika – A tantric practitioner.

Taong – To hang onto.

(ខ្មែរ​ - តោង)

Ta Prohm – Twelfth-century temple built during the reign of King Jayavarmann VII, dedicated to his mother.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ប្រាសាទតាព្រហ្ម)

Tejah – Power, authority, heat.

(ខ្មែរ​ - តេជះ)

Tennyo​ (Japanese) – A celestial maiden.

Tep Apsar – Heavenly dancer, variant of apsara.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ទេពអប្សរ)

Tep Robam – The priest in Khmer dance rituals.  Also known as achar or hmathav.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ទេពរបាំ)

Terrace of the Elephants – Outdoor terrace at Angkor Thom, from which the king would watch elephant combats and other games.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះលានជល់ដំរី)

Terrace of the Leper King – Outdoor terrace at Angkor Thom.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះលានស្ដេចគម្លង់)

Tevea – God, derived from the Sanskrit deva.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ទេវា)

Tevoda – Celestial deity with ability to travel between human and divine realms, sometimes associated with land as well.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ទេវតា)

Thangka – Tibetan Buddhist painting on cloth.

Thaong – Often understood to mean "gold," although this word does not appear in Samdech Chuon Nath's dictionary.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ថោង)

Thawng (Thai)– Gold.

The Cambodia Exhibit – Original work by Prumsodun Ok which explores competing nationalisms as manifested on social spaces such as YouTube.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ពិពណកម្ពុជា)

The Lives of Giants – Original work by Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, which explores the prequel to the Reamker (and why Preah Ream and Reab are enemies).

(ខ្មែរ​ - ជីវិតអសូរា)

Theravada – Relatively austere school of Buddhism which became popular in Cambodia in the thirteenth century.

Thlok – A type of tree in abundance on the island in which Preah Thaong first meets Neang Neak.  Very likely the local Khmer variant to the Sanskrit kadamba.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ធ្លក)

Thma Roam – “Dancing Stones,” a lakhaon niyeay play performed by students of Hang Thun Hak.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ថ្មរាំ)

Thngai ram – Day or days of dancing, as translated from Zhou Daguan’s text by George Coedes.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ថ្ងៃរាំ)

Thommik – An epithet for Maitreya, the future Buddha, who will ring in the next age of morality and enlightenment.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ធម្មិក)

Thorani – See Dharani.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ធរណី)

Thotsakan (Thai) – Epithet for Ravana.

Tip Sodachan – Khmer drama in which the daughters of the king of heaven descend upon earth.  One of them steals a flower and is therefore fated to be the owner’s wife.  After having a child, she is forced to abandon her family and return back to heaven.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ទិព្វសូដាច័ន្ទ)

Tossakan – Epithet for Reab, meaning “ten heads.”

(ខ្មែរ​ - ទស្សកាន)

Tossamok – Epithet for Reab, meaning “ten faces.”

(ខ្មែរ​ - ទស្សមុខ)

Tracheak – Literally meaning “ear” but in this case referring to the pieces of elven jewelry that are worn behind the ears and attached to the crown.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ត្រចៀក)

Traitrimsa – Heavenly realm ruled by Indra on the top of Mount Sumeru.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ត្រៃត្រឹង្សា)

Trakiet – An edible plant, Sagittaria sagittifolia or Monochoria hastata.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ត្រកៀត)

Trakuan – A type of weed, Ipomoea aquatica, eaten by Khmer people in soups, stir-fries, or fresh.​​​ 

(ខ្មែរ​ - ត្រកួន)

Tro – A fiddle.  Carried over into Thai.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ទ្រ)

Tuk – Water.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ទឹក)

Tuk mont – Water sanctified by mantra that is used to bless ritual participants.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ទឹកមន្ត្រ)

Udaharana – Example.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឧទាហរណ៍)

Udayakumara – Karmically-bound prince who pursues Manimekhalai.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឧទយកុមារ)

Udong​ – See Oudong.

(ខ្មែរ - ឧដុង្គ​​)

Upayana​ – Particular case.

Upekkha – Buddhist concept of equanimity.  See brahmavihara.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឧបេក្ខា)

Utsava – Old Khmer word for "festival."

(ខ្មែរ​បុរាណ - ឧត្សវៈ)

Uttarasanga (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "Likely a form of clothing, an ancient era sbai."

(ខ្មែរ​ - ឧត្តរសាង្គៈ)

Vajra – In Buddhism it means “diamond” while in Hinduism it means “thunderbolt.”  Symbolic of indestructible nature and irresistible force.

(ខ្មែរបុរាណ​ - វជ្រ, ខ្មែរទំនើប - ពេជ្រ)

Vajradhara – The holder of the vajra.

(ខ្មែរ​ - វជ្រធរ)

Vajrasattva – Tantric deity associated with a student who, through the master’s teachings, obtains transcendence through their esoteric practice.

(ខ្មែរ​ - វជ្រសត្វ)

Vajrayana – The “diamond path” or tantric Buddhism.

(ខ្មែរ​ - វជ្រយាន)

Valaivanam – Naga king referenced in Manimekhalai.

Varanaka (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "Masks worn by artists."

(ខ្មែរ​ - វរណកៈ ឬ វណ៌កៈ)

Varsapanam – Tantric ritual designed to obtain rain.

(ខ្មែរ​ - វឞ៌បណម៑)

Varuna – Hindu god of the Western Seas, whose mount is a makara and was defeated by Parashurama.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ពិរុណ)

Vasamayila – Naga queen referenced in Manimekhalai.

Vedas – Ancient Sanskrit texts containing scriptures and literature.

(ខ្មែរ​ - វេទ)

Vidyaviraloka (Sanskrit) – From Pou's Lexique: "A world victorious through knowledge."

(ខ្មែរ​ - វិទ្យាវីរលោកៈ)

Vihear – A temple hall.

(ខ្មែរ​ - វិហារ)

Vimayapura – Khmer city during Angkorean times now in present day Thailand.

(ខ្មែរ​ - វិមាយបុរ)

Virendravijaya – From Pou's Lexique: "A most powerful victory of Indra."

(ខ្មែរ​ - វីរេន្ទ្រវិជ័យ)

Virendravisaya – From Pou's Lexique: "A most powerful victory of Indra."

(ខ្មែរ​ - វីរេន្ទ្រវិឞ័យ ឬ វីរេន្ទ្រវិស័យ)

Vishnu​ – Hindu deity who protects life and creation.

(ខ្មែរ​ - ព្រះវិស្ណុ)

Vishnuite – A worshipper of Vishnu.

Vong Aschar – Father of Preah Ketumealea.

(ខ្មែរ​ - វង្សអស្ចារ្យ)

Vorachhun – Prince of the earth, student of Lok Ta Moni Eisey and colleague of Moni Mekhala and Ream Eyso in the sacred drama.  Killed by Ream Eyso and brought back to life by the rain.

(ខ្មែរ​ - វរឈុន)

Wat – A temple, derived from the Old Khmer vatta.

(ខ្មែរ​ - វត្ត)

Wat Sithor – Khmer temple originally built during the Angkor era, one in which Jayavarmann V had a tantric priest perform daily fire sacrifices.

(ខ្មែរ​ - វត្តសុីធរ)

Wat Sri Ratanasasadaram – Temple of the Emerald Buddha in the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

Wat Svay Andet – Temple in an island on the Mekong, famous for its khaol troupe.

(ខ្មែរ​ - វត្តស្វាយអណ្ដែត)

White Chalk Horse – Ritual performance staged by Prumsodun Ok in honor of his father’s passing.

(ខ្មែរ​ - សេះដីស)

Yakkhini – Pali variant of yaksini.

(ខ្មែរ​ - យក្ខិនី)

Yang – Male force in Chinese philosophy.

Yasodharapura – Old name of Angkor meaning, "City which holds honored glory."

(ខ្មែរ​ - យសោធរបុរ)

Yeak – A powerful spirit associated with nature, derived from the Sanskrit yaksa.  However, the word yeak in contemporary Khmer usually implies a giant ogre or demon who feeds on the flesh of human beings.

(ខ្មែរ​ -​ យក្ស)

Yeakanei – Khmer derivative of yakkhini.

(ខ្មែរ​ - យក្ខិនី)

Yihun – A type of white powder brought from China used by dancers, obsolete during the reign of Queen Kossamak Nearyrath.

Yike – A form of performance involving dance, music, and song derived from multiple cultural traditions in Cambodia.

(ខ្មែរ​ - យីកេ)

Yin​ – Female force in Chinese philosophy.

Yogi – A man devoted to meditation and ritual practice so as to gain magic powers and spiritual transcendence.

(ខ្មែរ​ - យោគី)

Yogini – Powerful female spirits associated with trees, animals, nature, and funerals who feed on the flesh of human beings.  Brave men who dared have intercourse with them were known as vira (Khmer: vireak) or “virile heroes” who would gain magic powers as a result.  Yogini are often shown in tantric iconography as dancing on corpses, symbolic of the impermanence of the physical form and of transcendence over ignorance.

(ខ្មែរទំនើប​ - យក្ខិនី)

Yoni – A ritual sculpture, usually round or square in form, symbolic of a vulva and the divine feminine.

(ខ្មែរ​ - យោនី)

Yonilinga – A ritual sculpture consisting of a linga, symbol of a phallus and Shiva, surrounded by a yoni, symbolic of the female principle and Shakti.

(ខ្មែរ​ - យោនីលិង្គ)

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