Posted by: episystechpubs | January 28, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Passage to India

The other day I was in the shower trying to remember a joke I’d heard about shampoo. Maybe it was just a quote, but it was kind of disgusting, and it made me wonder where we got the word shampoo from. Serendipitously, I got the answer today in an email about English words with origins in Hindi, Urdu, and Sanskrit. For the entire list see DailyWritingTips.

· Avatar
In Hinduism, an avatar is the manifestation in human or animal form of a god, especially Vishnu. The word first appeared in English in the 18th century and derives ultimately from the Sanskrit word avatara meaning descent. More recently the word has gained additional senses, for example to refer to a computer user’s visual representation within a game, on a forum etc.

· Bangle
A rigid ornamental bracelet worn around the wrist (or ankle). Its appearance in English dates back to the 18th century. It derives from the Hindi word bangri meaning a glass ring or bracelet.

· Bungalow
A one-storied house. Derives from the Hindi word bangla meaning, literally, in the style of or belonging to Bengal. The word bungalow in English dates back to the 17th century when it was used to refer to a type of cottage built in Bengal for early European settlers.

· Cot
This word has several meanings, but in the sense of a portable bed or a high-sided child’s bed, it derives from the Hindi word khat, meaning a bedstead or hammock. It arrived in the English language during the 17th century.

· Guru
Originally a Hindu or Sikh spiritual guide, guru entered English in the 17th century, where it now also means any important and respected intellectual guide or mentor. The original word in the Hindi and Sanskrit, also guru, means venerable.

· Juggernaut
In English, a juggernaut is an unstoppable force or movement that sweeps aside or destroys anything in its path. In the UK it is also used to refer to very large lorries (trucks). The word arrived in English in the 19th century and derives from the word Jagannath, a form of the Hindu deity Vishnu.

· Loot
Loot is both a noun and a verb. As a verb it means to ransack, to steal from someone or something, often in a violent way. The noun means whatever is stolen by the act of looting or, simply, any money. The word derives from the Hindi verb lut, meaning to plunder or steal.

· Pyjamas/Pajamas
A set of loose-fitting sleeping clothes, consisting of a jacket and trousers. The pajama spelling is used in North America. The word entered English in the 19th century. It derives from the Hindi word payjamah, meaning leg (pay) and clothing (jamah).

· Shampoo
A soapy liquid for washing the hair (or other things such as carpets). It arrived in English in the 18th century and derives from the Hindi word champo, meaning to squeeze, knead, or massage.

· Thug
A brutal or violent person, it derives ultimately from the Hindi word thag meaning a thief or a cheat. It entered the English language early in the 19th century.

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

www.symitar.com

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