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Friday, August 08, 2003

Word power

EVERYONE is familiar with the word BUNGA- LOW, but did you know that it is from the Hindustani bangla (belonging to Bengal)? The Cambridge International Dictionary of English defines it as “a house that has only one storey.” The origin of bungalow is explained in Semantics, Syntax, Indian Loan Words in English: A Cultural, Literary &Historical Study by Dr S.D.Sharma, Associate Professor of English. 

Here are other words, together with their meanings and origins, featured in the book. 

AMRITA : (Plural AMRITAS)from Sanskrit, meaning the drink of the Hindu gods. From the word comes AMRITATTVA, immortality. 

BANDICOOT : From Telugu pandikokku which means a pig-rat. It is also used for the largest species of rats found in India and Ceylon. 

CALAMANDER : A hard and valuable cabinet-wood of the ebony genus, brownish with black stripes, brought from India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The Chambers English Dictionary says that the word is probably of Singhalese origin. 

CHAPRASSI : From Hindustani chaprasi. A chaprassi is a badge-wearer, a messenger: an office messenger: a household attendant: an orderly. 

CARCAJOU : (From an Indian name): the glutton or wolverene. Chambers English Dictionary defines a wolveren (a variant form of wolverine)as the American glutton: its fur. 

CINNABAR: From Persian. A mineral, sulphide of mercury, called vermilion when used as a pigment. Its adjectival forms are cinnabaric, cinnabarine. 

YASHMAK : From Arabic yashmaq, now popularly used by Hindi writers to mean the double veil, which only leaves the eyes uncovered, worn by Muslim women in public. 

TUTENAG : From Marathi tutiinag, meaning an alloy of zinc, copper, etc. Loosely, it means zinc. 

SWARAJ : From Sanskirt, swarajya (swa: own, and rajya: rule). It means self-government, independence or home-rule; swarajist which is a derivative of it, meaning an advocate of Indian home-rule. 

TABASHEER or TABASHIR: From Hindi, Persian and Arabic (tabashir). It means a siliceous substance sometimes found in crude form in hollows of bamboos. It is also prepared by chemical processes. 

All words highlighted above are valid in the game.If they are composed of seven or more letters,they can be used as bingos (in Scrabble a bingo is play of a valid word of seven letters or more made in one move and scoring a bonus of 50 points!).

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