the classical Old Indic literary language, as cultivated from the 4th cent. onward: because of the antiquity of its written expression and the detailed descriptive analysis it received in the Sutras of the Hindu grammarian Pānini (end of the 4th cent. ), Sanskrit was used as a major source of data in the origin and development of Indo-European comparative linguistics
loosely any written form of Old Indic, including Vedic
Origin: ; from Sanskrit saṃskṛta, literally , made together, well arranged ; from saṃ-, together (see same) plush -kṛta, made ; from Indo-European base an unverified form kwer-, to make from source Middle Irish creth, poetry: so called in distinction to Prākrit, literally , the common (spoken) language
Sanskrit definition by American Heritage Dictionary
An ancient Indic language that is the language of Hinduism and the Vedas and is the classical literary language of India.
Origin: Sanskrit saṃskṛtam, from neuter of saṃskṛta-, perfected, refined : sam, together; see sem-1 in Indo-European roots + karoti, he makes; see kwer- in Indo-European roots.
Word History: Like Latin in Europe and elsewhere, Sanskrit has been used by the educated classes in India for literary and religious purposes for over two thousand years. It achieved this status partly through a standardization that resulted from a long tradition of grammatical theory and analysis. This tradition reached its height around 500 B.C. in the work of the grammarian Panini, who composed an intricate and complex description of the language in the form of quasi-mathematical rules reminiscent of the rules of generative grammar in modern times. The language thus codified was called saṃskṛtam, “put together, artificial,” to distinguish it from prākṛtam or the “natural, vulgar” speech of ordinary people. Sanskrit thus became a fixed literary language, while Prakrit continued to develop into what are now the modern spoken languages of northern and central India, such as Hindi and Bengali.