About some interesting words taken from the Indian languages

About some interesting words taken from the Indian languages

It is seen that English language is not shy of constantly picking up words from languages all over the globe. That is why it keeps on evolving.
There are some words the etymology of which is very interesting ( as you shall see.)
The first on the list is
1] Juggernaut.
Going by the sound, it has its origins in the name of the Lord Vishnu, Jagannath.
(Wikipedia: During the British colonial era, a falsehood was spread that the Hindu devotees of Krishna were fanatics who threw themselves under the wheels of huge chariot in order to attain the salvation.
In rare instances (in the Jagannath yatra festival in the past ) , some people were crushed accidentally as the massive 45-foot-tall, multi-ton chariot slipped out of control, with others suffering injury in the resulting stampedes.
This sight led the Britons of that time to coin the word “juggernaut” to refer to such examples of unstoppable, crushing forces and chaos.)

2] Kedgeree: From the Indian word Khichadi.
A dish of seasoned rice. A favorite dish of Mahatama Gandhi.
Hobson-Jobson defines it as "a mess of rice, cooked with butter and dal and flavored with a little spice and shred onion."
3] The etymology of this word is rather amazing.
The people in Tamil Nadu were afraid of the large snakes, which could even swallow the whole elephant. This snake was named by them as “Aanai- kondan”- literally meaning, “One which kills the elephants.”
This word was, as if literally fully swallowed by the English language ,and anglicized to Anaconda.
Surprisingly, Anaconda is found in Sri Lanka and the snake referred by the Tamils as “Aaanai- kondan” was a python.
5] Nirvana
(in Buddhism) a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self. The subject is released from the effects of karma, the cycle of death and rebirth.
It represents the final goal of Buddhism.
6] Raita
from Hindi/Urdu word रायता a yogurt based dish.
The Indians add sliced /chopped/diced, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, pineapples, pomegranate or other salads to complement rice or roti meals.
7] Roti
from रॊटी i.e. "bread"; akin to Sanskrit टिका rotika "a type of bread
8] Shawl
A piece of fabric worn by women over the shoulders or head or wrapped around a baby. From Urdu and Persian šāl, probably from Shāliāt, the name of an Indian town in India.
9] Sorbet Derived from the Urdu word Sharbat which originally comes from Arabic; meaning juice.
10] Verandha
from Hindi baramdaa बरामदा or another Indian language.
The learned readers on the site may like to add on to this list especially with regard to the import of words into English from other than Indian languages.
[ Compiled mainly from Wikipedia ]

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Published in Senior Chatters


    1. roseinbloom

      lani, English language has many sources; The various parts of UK had their language and still do to this day.There is a sanitized or homogenized version of English and the various English speaking countries have their own words. The Roman, the French invaded and left their imprint, just as the British probably did in India.
      Language is constantly in a state of change.

  1. macathy

    Yes lots of words have evolved and taked from different cultures.I noticed lot new ones creeping into it all the time .one I have heard a lot lately is
    Babymoon……….. Meaning of it is taken from baby and moon and is a time for families to get acquainted with new baby .dont know why we need it but its being used,holiday with baby mmmmmmmm

  2. Abhilaaj Post author

    Regarding the comments of lani, yes she is right.
    As per Dictionary.com , about 80 percent of the entries in any English dictionary are borrowed, mainly from Latin.
    Over 60 percent of all English words have Greek or Latin roots.
    The word baby moon as described by macathy above is rather a word coined ( and not taken from another language )
    Two of such coined words that I can recollect are : 1] Infotainment from information + entertainment and 2] Brunch from Breakfast+ lunch .
    Any way thanks for participation !

  3. Abhilaaj Post author

    Thanks jcb 1, you are always welcome !
    Yes, Rose is right when she says “The Roman, the French invaded and left their imprint, just as the British probably did in India. ”
    Indeed they did. Thanks Rose.

  4. Abhilaaj Post author

    I refer macathy’s observations above regarding the word babymoon.
    No such word was found on on- line Cambridge dictionary or even on Dictionary.com.
    What they came out was with words like baby boon, balloon or baboon.
    Are you sure macathy ! if the said word has been duly accepted by the lexicographers or you just heard it somewhere ?

  5. Abhilaaj Post author

    Nirvana, in the Hindu mythology Rosh refers to the soul which is liberated from the cycles of life and death after having been in it for many births. Then it gets absorbed into the Godhead ! Amen.

  6. Abhilaaj Post author

    Patricia, if you are trying to say that the world ” mela ” of indian origin has been taken in to the English language, yes you are right ! Thanks.