In Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism, a sant (IAST: Sant, [sɐn̪t̪]) is a human being revered for his or her knowledge of "self, truth, reality" and as a "truth-exemplar". In Sikhism it is used to describe a being who has attained spiritual enlightenment and divine knowledge and power through union with God.
Sant is sometimes translated as "saint", but this is a false cognate (there is no etymological commonality). Sant is derived from the Sanskrit root sat, which can mean "truth, reality, essence", and saint is derived from Latin sanctus, which means "holy, sacred", from Indo-European root sak-, "to sanctify".
Schomer and McLeod explain sant as preceptor of Sat or "truth, reality", in the sense of "'one who knows the truth' or 'one who has experienced Ultimate Reality', that is a person who has achieved a state of spiritual enlightenment or mystical self-realisation". William Pinch suggests the best translation of sant is "truth-exemplar".
Sant differs from saint not merely in the etymological sense but also in usage. The word is used in various contexts: