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Definition: avatar

A graphic identity that users select to represent themselves in a chat, instant messaging (IM) or multiplayer gaming session. An avatar is generally a caricature, rather than a realistic photo, and can be anything from a simple cartoon to a bizarre fantasy figure. However, images of real objects are also used. The term is a Sanskrit word that means the incarnation of a god on earth, and this usage of the term came from the gaming and 3D chat worlds. See VRML.

Some Avatars
These are four examples from the AvatarDB website, which has more than 50,000 images arranged by category. People choose an avatar based on how they want others to see them. For more information, visit www.avatarsdb.com.