(GAW-tem; the latter spelling of Gotama, the final a is silent); (GOW-tem)
Gautham or Gautama (pronounced the same) is derived from a Sanskrit patronymic, meaning “descendent of Gotoma.” It is the name of a gotra, that is in Hinduism, this is a type of family identifier which claims descent through a sage’s teachings. Gotama Maharishi was the name of one of the Saptarshis (7 sages) in Hindu texts.
Gotama itself seems to be derived from the Sanskrit gŐ(गः) “bright; light” and tama (तम) “darkness,” which would allude to a person who dispels darkness. Other sources contend that the name is composed of the Sanskrit elements गो (go) meaning “ox, cow” and तम tama “great.”
Other notable bearers include Gautama Buddha, (cir. 560-400 B.C.E.) founder of Buddhism; Akṣapāda Gotama founder of the Nyaya school of Hindu philosophy; and Indrabhuti Gautama, chief disciple of Mahavira.
Other forms of the name include:
- Gautam (Bengali/Marathi)
- Gotam (Hindi)
A feminine form is Gautami.