The meaning of the word "avatar"
It's a good question. The meaning of the word avatar
a) The most popular meaning of the word among the nowadays citizens is probably the name of a science fiction film (directed by James Cameron)
b) The graphical representation of a user in forums, chats, etc.
c) The original meaning is from the Indian religion -- Induism
= a material manifestation of a deity.
For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar_%28disambiguation%29