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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1736, from Chinese tao "way, path, right way (of life), reason."


n. 1 (context Taoism English) The essential principle underlying existence; ultimate reality. 2 (context Confucianism English) The way or path to be followed.


Tao or Dao (, ; ) is a Chinese word signifying 'way', 'path', 'route', or sometimes more loosely, 'doctrine' or 'principle'. Within the context of traditional Chinese philosophy and religion, the Tao is the intuitive knowing of "life" that cannot be grasped full-heartedly as just a concept but is known nonetheless through actual living experience of one's everyday being. The Tao differs from conventional (Western) ontology in that it is an active and holistic practice of the natural order of Nature and its universal awakening, rather than a static, atomistic one.

Laozi in the Tao Te Ching explains that the Tao is not a 'name' for a 'thing' but the underlying natural order of the Universe whose ultimate essence is difficult to circumscribe due to it being non conceptual yet evident' in one's being of aliveness. The Tao is "eternally nameless” (Tao Te Ching-32. Laozi) and to be distinguished from the countless 'named' things which are considered to be its manifestations, the reality of life before its descriptions of it.

The Tao lends its name to the religious tradition ( Wade–Giles, Tao Chiao; Pinyin, Daojiao) and philosophical tradition (Wade–Giles, Tao chia; Pinyin, Daojia) that are both referred to in English with the single term Taoism.

Tao (disambiguation)

Tao is a metaphysical concept found in Taoism, Confucianism, and more generally in ancient Chinese philosophy.

Tao may also refer to:

TAO (software)

The ACE ORB (TAO) is a freely available, open-source, and standards-compliant real-time C++ implementation of CORBA based upon the Adaptive Communication Environment (ACE). It attempts to provide efficient, predictable, and scalable quality of service (QoS) end-to-end. TAO applies the best software practices and patterns to automate the delivery of high-performance and real-time QoS to distributed applications. TAO is for developers of distributed and embedded applications who have stringent performance demands.

Tao (song)

"Tao" is Do As Infinity's twentieth single, released on July 27, 2005. The lyrics describe the parting of two friends. "Tao" was used as the Japanese opening song of Tales of Legendia. This was the last single released before the band disbanded in September 2005, but Do As Infinity reformed three years later, and released their twenty-first single, " ∞1", in June 2009.

The title of the B-side, "Aurora", means 'dawn' in Italian; the lyrics of the song are like the conclusion of the story in "Break of Dawn", the first track on the band's first album Break of Dawn.

Tao (comics)

T.A.O. is a fictional character in the Wildstorm universe.

TAO (collective)

The TAO Collective or The Anarchy Organization is a Canada-based radical and non-profit computer service provider, offering free email and web hosting in exchange for mutual aid. As the first of its kind in North America, it has helped to spawn another radical tech group called as well as inspire others.

The organization is founded on anarchist principles of self-determination, cooperation, and liberty, values expressed by the empowerment of everyday activists in possessing non-corporate and non-state-controlled Internet tools. The group now goes by the name of OAT (TAO backwards and "organizing autonomous telecomms"). Thousands of radical activist members who are engaged in a variety of anti-corporate, anti-racist, anarchist, anti-war, and environmental movements now use OAT services.

Tao (album)

Tao is an RIAA Gold-certified album by Rock singer Rick Springfield. It was released in 1985 on RCA Records. It was belatedly released on CD in 1990.

Tao (historical region)

Tao is a historical Georgian region in the territory of modern Turkey. Its name derives from the name of Taochi, its oldest inhabitants, who were an ancient Georgian tribe. In the Middle Ages, it was a province within various Georgian royal Bagrationi kingdoms and states from the 8th to the 16th century. Afterwards, the region was conquered by the Ottoman Empire.

TAO (e-Testing platform)

TAO is the French acronym for Testing Assisté par Ordinateur (Computer Based Testing).

The TAO framework provides an open architecture for computer-assisted test development and delivery, with the potential to respond to the whole range of evaluation needs. It provides to all the actors of the entire computer-based assessment process a comprehensive set of functionalities enabling the creation, the management, and the delivery of electronic assessments. The TAO platform is developed by the EMACS research unit of the University of Luxembourg and the SSI department of the Centre de Recherche Public Henri Tudor.

Tao (spear)

Tao is a word in Polynesian languages and can have a number of different meanings.

In Samoan and Māori, a tao is a long traditional wooden spear.

The word also has another meaning in the Samoan language; tao also means 'to bake' or 'roast' in a traditional oven made of hot rocks above ground.

Tao (surname)

Tao is the pinyin romanization of the Chinese surname (Táo). It ranked 31st among the Song-era Hundred Family Surnames.

Tào is also a Vietnamese surname derived from the Chinese surname Cao ( Chữ Nôm: ).

Tao (musical troupe)

thumb| concert 25. Januar 2015 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany thumb| The great drum thumb thumbTAO: The Martial Art of Drumming is a Japanese drum and dance ensemble formed in 1993. This performing group combines music and dance to reflect Japanese tradition, but also incorporates Korean, Maori, and Indonesian influences. While some songs are traditional, most are modern compositions created by members of the troupe.

Its performers train in their own center in the Kujū Highlands on Kyushu called Grandioso. The strenuous physical demands of their performance style demands that all performers also train as athletes. Their daily workouts, which start at 5 a.m. and end at 10 p.m., include a 20 kilometer run, calisthenics, martial arts training, and hours of dance, drum, and music practice. During the first ten years, 400 trainees ran away, after which the founder and "boss", Ikuo Fujitaka, adjusted the training regimen. 40 people have dropped out between 2003 and 2008.

Many of their performance pieces include only percussion instruments, and in some cases only taiko drums, but other pieces include the shinobue, or Japanese flute, bamboo marimba, gongs, and the koto, a horizontal harp.

After more than a decade touring Japan, the group performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where they sold out of tickets for 25 straight days and outsold every other performance group. They have been touring internationally ever since.

Usage examples of "tao".

He vaguely remembered being aroused, and blushed to think what Auntie Tao must have seen.

Trinket suddenly remembered his conversation with Auntie Tao, and her terror-stricken face.

Palace, whenever that might be, and that there would now be no time to find out how Auntie Tao was doing.

Aunt Tao had told him more than once how, when the rebel general Bash-em Li captured Peking, the Ming Emperor had tried to kill his favourite daughter before taking his own life, but had only succeeded in cutting off her arm.

Aunt Tao was there at the time and had seen it with her own eyes, but then she had fainted, and when she came to, the Princess and the Emperor had both disappeared.

Aunt Tao watched in astonishment as the bar on the inside broke with a slight snapping sound and the doors flew open.

Then she went into the main bedroom and sat down on the bed while Aunt Tao and Trinket stood to one side and waited.

Back in the hostelry, the White Nun insisted that Aunt Tao should share her own room.

Trinket nor Aunt Tao was willing to be left behind and in the end she consented to let them come with her.

Trinket and Aunt Tao could no longer see what was happening, but they could hear the Empress Dowager panting and a moment later they heard the White Nun speaking.

He remembered hearing Aunt Tao say that her teacher was attempting to steal a copy of the Sutra from the Chief Clansman of the Bordered Blue Banner when he was mortally wounded by a leading member of the Mystic Dragon Sect.

Whenever Myra forwarded information to the Tao Fan, insidious leader of the Chinese group, she saw that it took a roundabout course.

The Tao Fan had paved the opportunity that enabled the girl to play her double part.

Whether or not the Tao identified Cranston with The Shadow, he had certainly learned that Cranston was not the sort to be side-tracked by one unpleasant episode.

Mongols remembered that Ming Dwan held full authority from the Tao Fan, their merciless leader.