Sanskrit has wielded a profound impact upon world languages, English being one. This incursion has not just been a recent one in the aftermath of immigration of en masse Indians but down the ages and occurred even before the inception of Englisc, thereby getting integrated in its evolutionary process.
Diamond, is a distorted version of the word adamant, once used for the jewel. Adamant has come from the Sanskrit adaman, ?unyielding? (Skt. IaI, not + daman, to subdue, to conquer). And so is diamond?unrivalled and stands formidable, in terms of both toughness and grandeur.
Emerald, this scintillating gem'sname comes from old French esmeralde, Latin smaragdus, via Greek smargus ultimately from Semitic or from Sanskrit marakata ?emerald?.
Beryl, is a precious stone, transparent in various colours mostly pale green or blue or even red. It arises from old French beryl, via Latin, Greek and Prakit (verulia) ultimately from Sanskrit vaidurya. (Remember the Satyajit Ray thriller novel as well as movie, Jai Baba Felunath, the potboiler spins around theft of vaidurya mani.)
Opal, through Latin from Greek, hinting its root in Sanskrit upaalah.
Sapphire, comes from the Greek sappheiros, in turn from Sanskrit Shanipriya, ?dear to the planet Saturn?.
Topaz, comes directly from Sanskrit tapas, ?heat?, in allusion to its flaming red colour as seen in one of its varieties.
Onyx, arises from Greek onyx, ?finger-nail? in turn from Sanskrit nakh, ?nail?.
Musk, this esoteric substance gets its name from late Latin and late Greek moskhos from Persian muskh, ultimately from Sanskrit muskas meaning testicle/scrotum; so named after the shape of the musk deer'smusk gland.
Sandal, i.e. sandalwood, this fabled substance'sname comes from old French sandale via Late Greek santalon from Arabic sandal, ultimately from Sanskrit candanam.
Bandanna, is a coloured silk or cotton handkerchief or headscarf with big dots of colour. It comes from Hindi bandhnu, a method of dyeing ultimately from Sanskrit badhnati, ?binds? because the cloth is tied like modern method of tie-dying.
Ginger comes from middle Latin gingiber via Latin and Greek from Prakrit singabera, ultimately from Sanskrit srngaveram (srngam ?horn? + vera ?body?), which means ?body of a horn / antler? on account of its shape or perhaps a Sanskrit folk etymology. An ancient Dravidian etymology is also probable.
Pepper, comes from Latin piper and Greek peperi probably from middle Indic pippari, which is from Sanskrit pippali meaning ?a long pepper?.
Rice, comes via old French and Italian from Latin oriza through Indo-Iranaian route and finally from Sanskrit vrihi-s meaning rice. This Sanskrit origin is though disputed with Tamil origin from arisi.
Kedgeree, is a dish consisting of flaked fish, boiled rice and eggs; probably ultimately from Sanskrit kr?arahi, dish containing sesame, peas, and lentils.
Lacquer, is varnish with shellac dissolved in a suitable solvent medium. It evolved through French and Portuguese from Arabic lakk, via Prakrit ultimately from Sanskrit laksha.
Lilac, is pale pinkish-violet colour; via Arabic lilak from Persian nilak meaning ?bluish?, ultimately from Sanskrit nila meaning ?dark blue?. It is after this colour that the lilac tree / shrub, Syringa vulgaris of the olive family has been named. It is known for its fragrant blossoms.
Meerkat, is a certain type of mongoose typically found in southern Africa. It comes either from Dutch meerkatte, sea-cat or probably through Hindi markat which ultimately finds its root in Sanskrit markata, ?an ape?.
Nard, is a fragrant ointment prepared from Nardostachys grandiflora, a Himalayan plant of the velarian family. It used to be highly revered by the ancients. It comes through old French and Latin nardus from Greek nardos, ultimately from Sanskrit naladam, Indian spikenard. Several other aromatic plants of the valerian family of the mountains of Europe also got named hence?Celtic nard (Valeriana celtica)
Nark, a nark is a police informer. It arises from Romany nak ?a nose?, via Hindi nak ultimately from Sanskrit nasa or nakra.
Pugmark, the first half of the word ultimately arises from Hindi paga, feet ultimately from Sanskrit padam, ?a foot?.
Orange, even this word in our common parlance unknowingly has trickled through old French orenge, middle Latin orenge and Italian arancia from Arabic naranj, via Persian narang ultimately from Sanskrit naranga-s meaning ?an orange tree?, The tree'soriginal habitat was Northern India. Its other counterpart, Persian orange grown widely in southern Europe after its introduction in Italy in 11th century was found bitter. During 15th century Portuguese traders brought sweet oranges from India to Europe and subsequently the bitter variety got displaced with the sweeter ones from India. Portuguese, Spanish, Arab and Dutch sailors planted citrus trees along trade routes to prevent scurvy. With the passage of time the original English word ?a norange? got transmuted to ?an orange? under the linguistic process of met analysis.
(The writer is a freelance journalist and can be contacted at [email protected])