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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Lao-tse \Lao-tse\, Laozi \Laozi\prop. n. A Chinese philosopher who founded Taoism in the 6th-century b.c.

Syn: Lao-Tzu, Lao-Tse.


Laozi (also Lao-Tzu or Lao-Tze, , lit. "Old Master") was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer. He is known as the reputed author of the Tao Te Ching and the founder of philosophical Taoism, and as a deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions. Although a legendary figure, he is usually dated to around the 6th century BC and reckoned a contemporary of Confucius, but some historians contend that he actually lived during the Warring States period of the 5th or 4th century BC. A central figure in Chinese culture, Laozi is claimed by both the emperors of the Tang dynasty and modern people of the Li surname as a founder of their lineage. Laozi's work has been embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements as well as Chinese Legalism.