Does anyone have an opinion on the etymology of the word マラ, a crude term for penis? Any thoughts on usage are also appreciated.

(via archive.org) http://gogen-allguide.com/ma/mara.html

  • 3
    The etymology is written on the page you referenced.
    – fefe
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 2:07
  • i can't copy or use rikai chan on the computer I'm using now so i was hoping some kind soul like you would offer their two cents.
    – yadokari
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 5:04
  • Note that the above link no longer works. The answer quoting the page is thus pretty helpful.
    – AHelps
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 23:33

1 Answer 1


Quoting from the page you mentioned:

マラ was originally a word used by monks, and there is a prevailing view that the etymology comes from a transliteration of the Sanskrit "Mara" meaning "evil god who prevents good conduct, Klesha which amounts to an obstruction to Satori", but it's not known if that is accurate.

Otherwise, there is a theory that the etymology of マラ is from an alternative form of the verb 放{ま}る meaning "excretion", a theory that it came from 茎{くき} to be 真茎{マラ} and a theory that it came from 末裸{マラ} among others.

  • Why is it written in katakana?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 3:57
  • thanks cypher, I'm leaving this up to see if anyone has any other opinions. @grimm, I presume because it derives from Sanskrit (though many words from sanskrit have kanji from the chinese) and because it's a curse word.
    – yadokari
    Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 23:52
  • @AndrewGrimm that's a question I'm probably not able to answer (it's not even known if it did come from the Sanskrit word), but I think it sometimes is also written with the ateji 魔羅 and 摩羅. Because it's a colloquial word would be my best guess.
    – cypher
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 0:34
  • I think if the questioner found out the "correct definition", you need to pay veeeeeeeeeeeerrrrryyyyyyyyyyyy careful attention when to use it. It is even in colloquially used in conversation between thugs, Yakuzas are O.K. Well, at the office, you well good have a chance to be labelled like a dolt, dumbbelss, douch, on and on...
    – user7644
    Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 5:08

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