AskDefine | Define Mayan

Dictionary Definition



1 a member of an American Indian people of Yucatan and Belize and Guatemala who had a culture (which reached its peak between AD 300 and 900) characterized by outstanding architecture and pottery and astronomy; "Mayans had a system of writing and an accurate calendar" [syn: Maya]
2 a family of American Indian languages spoken by Mayan peoples [syn: Maya, Mayan language]

User Contributed Dictionary

see mayan



  1. Of, or relating to the Maya people of Central America.


  1. A Maya
  2. A Mayan language

Extensive Definition

The adjective Mayan is sometimes used to refer to the indigenous peoples of parts of Mexico and Central America, their culture, language, and history. More formally, the use of "Mayan" is restricted to referring to an aspect of their languages; "Maya" is the adjectival form preferred when referring to non-linguistic aspects.
Relevant articles:
  • Maya civilization - dealing with the historical pre-Columbian Maya civilization, culture, history and archaeology
  • Maya peoples - collective designation for the various indigenous peoples of the region, sharing cultural and linguistic heritage
  • Mayan languages - a language family of related languages traditionally spoken by the Maya peoples
  • Yucatec Maya language - a specific Mayan language, often referred to simply as 'Mayan' (or Maya)
  • Maya script - the writing system in use by the pre-Columbian Maya civilization

Other meanings

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