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Lama is a term of respect, which means "superior" or "excellent," applied to Tibetan monks. The title is generally reserved for the heads of monasteries, ecclesiastical dignitaries, and aged and learned monks. (The term trapas is applied to others.) The word correctly written is blama.
Also lama can refer to monks of esoteric Buddhism, favoring elaborate rituals, and worship by formal and repetitive prayers. A.G.H.
Sources: 2, 162; 83, 233.