A Review of Sanskrit Like English Words

Hinduism Essay Subject Image

by Mr. Richard Stoney

The following is an essay suggesting some sort of Hindu linguistic influence upon English, Germanic, and Scandinavian lands, circa 1200 to 1600. Is it possible that some group speaking some Sanskrit-related language(s) was present in Northern Europe prior to the British occupation? I managed to get a qualified language expert to admit, albeit begrudgingly, to this possibility, however implausible the strange theory seemed to him.

Languages are like footprints in the sand: if you see them even when no one is around, you know someone was there. Anything past 1600 might be considered knowledge derived as a result of the British occupation of India.

I will use Sanskrit as a basis for this theory, but most defintely some Sanskritic derivative(s) is/are the active language(s) involved since Sanskrit evolved into other languages circa 300 to 400 AD., according to some sources.

As I will show, some English words will have two or more dissimilar meanings; I will suggest that some of them are Sanskrit-based. In other cases, some Old English words and definitions will appear as part of the Indo-European language pattern--nothing new about that. But then over the period of, say, a few hundred years, the same word will obtain additional meanings--Sanskritish ones--followed again in a century or two by yet a newer Sanskritish definition--all derived from the same word-root: a chain, if you will. Is this continuous chain the result of speech by a group of speakers of a Hindu language at a time when one might not expect them, that is, prior to the British occupation?

There is of, course, the question of how some of the etymologies presented here were overlooked. I might suggest that the present-day knowledge is based on knowledge obtained from dictionaries, linguistic research, etc. of 400+ years ago--a time when knowledge of Indic languages was limited or non-existent. Therefore this could affect linguists' interpretations.

The years quoted here are the earliest dates of a particular definition, as furnished by OED. Since any linguistic influence or presence of Hindus would most likely be part of a minor sub-culture, integration of any linguistic contribution into English would be slow in coming--like slang or colloquialisms. Who knows how long it took for the words and definitions to be recognized--especially during times of high illiteracy, poor communication and lack of any printing presses?

Guide to pronunciation of some Sanskrit letters:

A, as in mica

AA, as in father

I, as in fill

II, as in police

U, as in full

UU, as in rude

--Eng. BUD (< BODDE/BUDDE, 1398), "a little projection at the axil of a leaf; hence applied to a flower at any stage of growth until fully opened"; "to spring forth, grow, develop" (1566). Cf. Skt. root BUDH-, "to awaken; restore to life, consciousness; cause (a flower) to expand". Akin to BODHA, "opening of a bloom"; BODHI, the tree associated with Buddha. BUD is of obscure etymology seems to be isolated to England, with possible cognates in French or Dutch.

--Eng. CALL (1000, CEALLAN [only one occurrence]; 1200-1300, CALLEN/KAL, akin to Old Norse), "call, cry, or speak loudly; chatter"; Old Teutonic theoretical root *KALLOJAN, a cognate of Slavic GOL-, "voice, sound", and perhaps with Aryan root GAR-, "chatter". Cf? Skt. root KAL- (#1), "to sound" or Skt. root KAL- (#3), "utter a sound, murmur", sometimes used in verbal concepts. Any connection with Sanskrit is not mentioned in OED, which is not in the habit of always doing so--so who knows? Anyway, note that the Teutonic forms seem to be closest to the Sanskrit.

Take note of how the Sanskritish definitions form a continuous chain from century to century.

**Now we come to Branch III: "The connexion of meaning in Branch III seems far-fetched, but there appears to be no doubt of its identity".

Branch III: "'to urge forward, drive (an animal or vehicle)' [1375]. Perh. originally 'to drive with shouts', but no trace of this is known since the 14th c., and the sense is not in ON".

1500: "drive (a horse or cart)".

1724: "to make go; drive".

1768: "to drive in the chase". Cf. Skt. root KAL-/KAALAYATI (#2), "drive forward; drive before oneself"; KAL-/KALAYATI (#3), "impel, urge on".

**1513: "to drive (a nail); fix, fasten or join by hammering". Cf. Skt. root KAL-/KALAYATI (#3), "tie on, attach, fix".

**1325: "to announce or proclaim (anything)". Cf. Skt. KAL- /KAALAYATI (#2), "announce the time (?)". **1470: "to challenge, accuse of".

1500: "drive (a weapon) at".

1633: "to vilify". Cf? Skt. root KAL-/KAALAYATI, "to go after (with hostile intention), persecute".

--The following is another example of merging of possibly two different words which are similar and therefore associated as being the same. First we come without flame; a piece of burnt wood, charred remnant" (825 a.d.). Circa 1000, there appears the phrase BLACK AS COAL, akin to COALY (koe-lee"), "covered with coal; black like coal" (1565). Obviously there is an associated between soot and blackness. But in 1310, there is the verb COLLOW (pronounced "kah-lo"), akin to KOLLOW, "to blacken, begrime", akin to COLLIED ("kah-lid") and COLLY ("kah-lih"), both of which refer to grime and blackness circa 1590. Cf. Skt. KAALA, KAALII and KAALI ("kah-luh", "kah-lee" and "kah-lih", respectively), meaning "black". OED suggests the possibility that Eng. COLLIE (the dog) may also be related to blackness.

--Eng. CRUD(DE) is an obsolete and dialectical form of CURD (1382; uncertain cognates in Celtic (GRUTH, GROTH, CRUTH); "no cognates in Romanic or Teutonic, derivation and history unknown"), "to coagulate, congeal, become solid." Cf. Skt. KRUD, "be or become thick".

--Eng. CUDDLE (1520), "fondle, hug", is of uncertain derivation. "Further evidence as to its early use is wanted". It is a dialectical or nursery word. Cf.?? Skt. root KUD-, "to play or act as a child".

--Eng. CUT (1200, CUTE; 1300-1400, KOT/KUT /KUTT/KITT, etc.): "Found in the end of the 13th century, and in common use since the 14th century...The phonology is doubtful;...The word is not recorded in OE. (nor in any W.Ger. dialect), and there is no corresponding verb in Romanic." Various theories abound as to etymology, including theoretical Teutonic roots. Some Scandinavian cognates suggested.

As we shall see, many definitions will blend together, as they do in the case of RIP (see below.)

**1275: "penetrate with a sharp instrument; to gash".

1596: "make an incision". Cf. Skt. root KUTT-, akin to

KUTTANA, "cutting"; KUTTANTI, "a kind of dagger".

**1490:"a term of abuse".

1568: "an act of sarcasm".

1582: "to wound one's feelings".

1737: "rebuke".

1760: "censure". Cf. Skt. root KUTT-/KUTTAYATI, "abuse, censure"; KAAT (pronounced "cot"), "a prefix of contempt".

**1300: "divide into 2+ parts".

1578: "break up". Cf. Skt. root KUT- [not KUTT-]/KUTYATI/KOTAYATE, "break into pieces, divide".

It also means "tear asunder", resulting in other, more-violent definitions of Eng. CUT: 1632, "to rout in battle with great slaughter"; Skt. root KAT-, "divide" (rhymes with put).

**'There are various occurrences wherein CUT can refer to striking the earth or a path, digging a channel. Cf. Skt. root KUTT-, "paw (the ground), pound".

**1300: "divide with an edged instrument": a combination of KUT- and KUTT-.

**1500: "to speak" (thieves' cant); "to shape one's discourse; try not to commit oneself":

1850: "Meg has some queer ways, and often cuts queer words".

1672: "He cuts indeed and faulters in his discourse, which is no good sign".

1710: "Some Crafty Zealots cut and wheadl'd, and lying vow'd they never meddl'd". Cf. Skt. root KUT-, "speak

indistinctly"; KUUT-, "render confused, indistinct or intelligible".

**1666: "to strike or bruise the inside of a fetlock with the shoe or hoof of the opposite food (of a horse)". Cf. Skt. root KUTT-, "bruise, strike lightly, grind, pound".

**1600: "to get in front of a rival so as to intervene between him and success".

1815: "deprive someone of something": "The apprizer cut the family out of another cantle of their remaining property".

1923: "conduct (a contest) fraudulently". Cf. Skt. root KUT-, "be crooked; be dishonest, cheat"; akin to KAUTA, "fraudulent".

**In the 1500's and 1600's, CUT can express motion, crossing or passage. Cf. Skt. root KAT- (#1), "go", pronounced as in put.

**1634: "hollow out a hole". Cf. Skt. KAATA ("kot-uh"), "a deepness, hole"; derived from and equal to KARTA, "hole", which is akin to KARTANA, "act of cutting off, excision". Cf. Eng. CUT (1400), "excise".

**Skt. root KUTT- can also mean "to multiply". So consider (?) the manner in which Eng. CUT can be used, as in cutting drugs as a way of multiplying supply.

**Wounds which have been cut open have a burning sensation. Cf? Skt. root KUT-, "be warm, burn".

**Up to about 1500, CUT was also spelled KIT/KYT, etc.; in 1862, CUT can mean "to reduce (a color) to a softer shade". Cf. Skt. root KIIT-, "to tinge, color".

**Somwhere among all this, there is Skt. KAT (#2, rhymes with put), "surround, encompass". Cf?? Eng. CUT, associated with castration (1456), circumcision (i.e., "cut around"?) and excavating/carving around/out (1551).

--There was OE/AS/ON DRAGAN/DRA3AN, which meant "to drag, pull, pull; go, move oneself". It is believed to derive from Latin TRAHERE--part of the process that created European languages, nothing new about that. Preservation of the letter g is believed to be the result of dialectical in northern England. Cf. Skt. DRAAGH, "roam, stroll; exert oneself". But then after 1400, there appears the derivative DRAG with definitions that blend with the Old English:

1494: "hang behind with a retarding tendency".

1583: "move the body with difficulty, delay."

1651: DRAGGED, "physically tired".

1697: "protract to a tedious end, slowly".

Cf. Skt. DRAAGH, "extend, lenghten; torment, be tired; be long, slow, delay".

--The following is an essay suggesting an etymological connection between the English word garish and the Hindu goddess, Gauri.

First, consider the English word: garish, from previous forms gaurish, gawrish, or gaerishe, the earliest occurrence of which in English is circa 1545, according to Oxford English Dictionary, which defines it as "excessively bright in color, gaudy." Is the word actually gauri-ish, i.e., "Gauri-like"? Now we come to the Sanskrit side of the equation: Cf. gaura, gaurii, which means the following: "white, yellowish, reddish, pale red; gold; white mustard; red chalk; yellow dye; orpiment ["yellow or gold mineral substance"]; saffron [which is used as a coloring agent.]; shining, brilliant". It is also associated with the Sanskrit word kadaaradi, "tawny-colored"; and it also refers to the goddess, Gauri, the wife of Shiva.

Color is definitely part of ceremonies involving Gauri. "In some parts of India the harvest-goddess Gauri....is represented both by an unmarried girl and by a bundle of the wild flowering balsam plant touch-me-not...which is tied up in a mummy-like figure with a woman's mask, dress and ornaments. Before being removed from the soil to represent the goddess the plants are worshipped. The girl is also worshipped.

Then the bundle of plants is carried and the girl who impersonates the goddess walks through the rooms of the house, while the supposed footprints of Gauri herself are imprinted on the floor with red paste. On entering each room the human representative of Gauri is asked, 'Gauri, Gauri, whither have you come and what do you see?' and the girl makes appropriate replies. Then she is given a mouthful of sweets and the mistress of the house says, 'Come with golden feet and stay forever'". (Frazer, p. 77, vol. 2) Then the ceremony continues on about rice crops, but that need not concern us.

As will be shown in the following paragraphs, mythology involving Gauri entails changes in personalities. With that in mind, around 1600, gaurish gained an additional definition, "lacking self-restraint; flighty or inconstant behavior or emotions". "In the Vamana Purana Parvati is called Kali ["Black, dark-blue"] because of her dark complexion. When Parvati hears Shiva use this name, she takes offense and does austerities to rid herself of her dark skin. After she succeeds this, she is renamed Gauri, the golden one [also "Fair One"]. Her dark sheath, however, is transformed into the furious battle queen Kaushiki, who subsequently creates Kali herself in her fury. So again, although there is an intermediary goddess, Kaushiki, Kali is shown to play the role of Parvati's dark, negative, violent nature".

On the subject, C.J. Fuller writes, "...[a] goddess exists in a kind of dynamic state, sometimes unmarried and able to wield her power with all its attendant hazards, sometimes united with a god and restrained by the bond of marriage, and sometimes in an intermediate position in which she is married but apart from her husband. Actually, many goddesses largely remain in one particular state; nonetheless in both myth and ritual, the same transformative solution to the ambivalence of the goddess's power perennially emerges, so that dark and light forms of the goddess are never truly parted from each other. Black Kali, dancing on Shiva's corpse, repeatedly transforms into golden Gauri.... and back again."

Continuing on the theme of being unrestrained, Gauri is also known as Rambhaa [see RUMBLE], "roaring" (Stutley, p. 96). OED supplies these quotes regarding garish, garishness and garishly, indicating the idea of rowdy speech:

**"1662-87 Blurting out any garish tomfoolery that comes into their mind."

**1680 Who would venture rashly and garishly into the presence of...a king upon his throne?"

*"1716 That pride and garishness of temper, that render it impatient of the sobrieties of virtue."

There is also the Sanskrit phrase, gaura-khara, a reference to a wild (and noisy, braying?) donkey:

gaura + khara, "harsh, injurious", which can refer to speech.

In volume 2 of Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (page 492), it reads, "The cult of Devi ["Goddess"] is similar to that of Kali. It sometimes represents her as benignant, but more often in her chthonic or malignant aspect. It is, in fact, practically impossible to distinguish the double manifestation of the goddess. Speaking generally, when kindly she is...Gauri, 'the yellow or brilliant one' [among others]. But in the popular conception these functions so completely merge and interchange that more precise definition is impossible."

Oxford English Dictionary also lists a different adjective, garish (a2), which is related to gare, gaer (sb2, 1606), "a sudden and and transient fit of passion" < gere, geer (1369), "transient passion, a wild or changeful mood." Again, note the dropping of the suffix -ish. There is also a similar tale in which at one point, Parvati is out of town at a yogic beauty parlor having her complexion made lighter to please the lighter-skinned Shiva. She sloughs off her old, dark persona of the violent, man-eating Kali and returns as Gauri, the pretty wife, the acceptable consort.

--Eng. JABBER/JAVER (1499/1440), "talk rapidly or intelligibly", often used contemptuously or derisively. Cf. Skt. 1) JABH-, associated with opening the jaws wide or snapping at (implying blame); 2) JAVA, "rapidity"; 3) JAP-, "mutter in a low voice; whisper repeatedly (implying blame)".

--In 1600, there is the word JENNY (no European cognates), supposedly from the female name. It means "the female name; a prefix for various female animals". Cf. Skt. JANI/JANII, "woman, wife", akin to Hindi JANI.

--Eng. LASS, "girl" < LASCE/LASSE (1300). OED admits this is a "difficult conjecture" and takes note of the sound of k from Old Norse *LASQA, primarily "free from ties ["loose"?]; having no fixed abode". Cf. Skt. 1) LASA, "moving here and there"; 2) akin to LAASAKA, "moving here and there; dancing girl; harlot; embracing"; 3) LAASIKA, "dancing"; 4) root LAS-, "play sport, frolic".

In 1596, LASS means "lady-love";

in 1788, "maid servant". LASS and LASSIE are closely associated with LAD (1300, LADDE, also LAWD) and LADDIE, also of obscure origin, which may be associated with HARLOT, according to OED.

It means "servant (1300);

boy (1440)". Cf. Skt. LAADIIKA "boy, servant". LAD also has other definitions:

1725: "sweetheart". Cf. Skt. root LAD, "cherish, desire". It is unrleated to LAADIIKA.

1300: "varlet, man of low birth". Cf. Skt. LADDA, "wretch, villain", unrelated to LAADIIKA.

1553: Phrase QUITE A LAD, "a man of spirit and vigor"

(1553). Cf? Skt. LADANA, "handsome, pleasing", also unrelated.

--Eng. LULL, obsolete form of LOLL (related to Middle Dutch, no other apparent cognates): (1418), "to swing"; (1582), "anything that lolls, e.g., the tongue"; (1611) "to swing the tongue". Cf. Skt. root LAL (pronounced "lull"), "to loll or wag the tongue, to wave".

In 1377, LOLL also means "to lean idly in a relaxed manner", which is synonymous with Skt. root LAL, "behave loosely or freely; dally, play". There is also the related noun LOLL, "a pet or darling" (1728). Cf. Skt. LAL, "to cherish, foster, caress", akin to LAALITA, "cherished, desired one".

OED also lists this onomatopoeic counterpart to LOLL:

LILL(1530), "to loll the tongue" (play with the tongue"?). Compare 1) Skt. root LAL-, "play, sport";

2) Skt. LIILAA, "play, sport, amusement; child's play".

--In 1000, there is the word MASC-, "malt mixed with hot water form wort". Then in 1250 it is related to the verb "to beat into a soft mass; to crush, pound or smash to a pulp". Cf. Skt. root MASH- ("rhymes with push), "hurt, injure", akin to MASHAM, "to grind to a powder, pulverize". Yes, I know that there is a technical difference between grinding and pounding, so maybe there is no relationship between the two. Eng. MASH is listed as the onomatopoeic alteration of MUSH (1781), "to pulverize, crush". There is also the Eng. noun MUSH (1824), "anything reduced to powder or pulp; anything soft or pulpy", from Eng. MUSH, "porridge" (1624).

--Eng. MAST (1420, no European cognates indicated), "a weight of 2.5 pounds", according toOED, which is uncertain of its source. Cf. Skt. MASTA, "measured"; MASTI, "a weighing". There is, of course, the argument that the English word is perhaps derived from Latin MASSA, "lump, mass; weight", but the Latin word is never spelled with the letter t.

--Eng. MIRCE > MIRK > modern MURK/MURKY, Danish/Swedish MORK. Outside of Teutonic, there are no certain cognates, possibly Old Norse may be the source. Originally, it was associated with darkness or becoming dark. In 1375 and 1667, it refers to the thickness and intensity of the air or clouds. Cf. Skt. root MURCH-/MUURCH-, "thicken; become intense". At some point, MURK also meant "hard to understand; unenlightened". Cf. (??) the related Skt. words MUURKHI, "stupid"; MUURCHAA, "mental stupefaction".

--Eng. MOLL (MALL, 1600, no European cognates), "wench prostitute," (supposedly from the name MOLLY): Also associated with crime. Cf. MALKIN, "untidy female, slut, lewd woman (1500), woman of lower classes, name of a female demon" (1200). MALKIN TRASH (1698), "one in a rueful dress". Cf. Skt. MALA, "moral or physical dirt, impurity, original sin". This same word also refers to a dirty garment. Also consider Skt.

MALIMLUCH, "thief, a particular demon", akin to MALIMLU, "thief." Conceivably, the Latin word, MALUS, "evil", might be influencing the "demon" aspect.

--Eng. MUCK (1250; "prob. of Scandinavian origin"( MYK or MYKI), year unspecified) originally meant "cattle dung". Cf. Skt. MUKA(A), "smell of cow dung; having the smell of cowdung". Note that the English form is closest to the Sanskrit.

--Originally, Eng. MUD referred to a bog. In 1526, MUDDY meant "abounding in or splattered with mud; not clear in color". Then other cognates appear:

**MUDDY (1601), "to make confused".

**MUDDLE (1687), "to confuse"; (1818), "mental confusion; disorderly condition". MUD, " fool"(1708). Cf. Skt. MUUDHA, "confused; confusion of mind;foolish, stupid, not clear; driven off its course". Related to MUUDHA is Skt. MUGDHA, "bewildered, foolish, ignorant; gone astray, innocent, artless", akin to Pali/Prakrit MUDDHA, "foolish". Cf. Eng. MUGGINS, "fool" (1855); MUG, "stupid or incompetent person"

(1859); MUG'S GAME (1910), "foolish or unprofitable activity"; MUDDLE (1810), "a bungle" (cf. related Skt. MUDHAA, "in vain").

The root word of the Sanskrit words is MUH, "be confused, be mistaken; fail, go the wrong way". No cognates are indicated out of Germanic lands.

**MUD (1593), "to make water turbid/unclear by stirring up the mud". The idea of mixing becomes more prominent in later years. Cf. Skt. root MUD, "mix, blend, mingle". This is a verb unrelated to the Sanskrit words listed above.

--In 1596, there is the word MUG, "a breed of sheep having the face completely covered with wool"; MUG EWE/LAMB. Then in 1708, a different (?) word MUG means "face" and "mouth" (1820). No European cognates. Cf. MUKHA, "mouth; face"; akin to Kashmiri MU-GAND (Turner).

--In 1380, Eng. MUSTER means "to show, report, explain" from Latin MONSTRARE and It. MOSTRARE, "show". Then it gains additional definitions:

1420: "to collect (soldiers) for inspection or display"

1450: "to come together for inspection"

1586: "to collect or bring together (things, thoughts, courage or people)"

1592: "bring (troops) together" Cf. Skt. root MUST-, "gather, collect".

--Eng. NAUGHT (< OE NAWUHT) originally meant "nothing, useless, worthless; morally wicked". Cf? Skt. NATA, "courtezan, Nautch girl". Circa 1200, NAUGHT becomes NATHT and, in 1500, NAUT. Circa 1536, it gains the definition "doing wrong", applied to mild reproach or disapproval". Cf? Skt. NATII, "disgusted with". Up to this point, I have been speculating, I admit. But take a look at an additional definition of the related verb NAUGHT, "destroy (1340)" and adjective "injurious"

(1596). Cf. Skt, root NAT, "injure, hurt". This chain of English definitions seems to indicate, at least in part, an Indic influence.

--Eng. PAN (1572, "derivation unascertained"), "to fit, agree, correspond". OED offers these quotes:

**"Say and promeis quhat thay can, thair words and deidis will neuer pan".

**Pan, to close, joyn together, agree. Prov. 'Weal and Women cannot pan, but Wo and Women can'"

"Jack and wife didn't seem to pan togither at fost, but noo they get alang pratty weel."

Cf. Skt. PAN (pan.), "to negotiate, bargain; to risk (as a battle)", akin to PAN.A, "agreement, treaty"

--In English there are severalform of POOP, one of which I will deal with now. It means "to make an abrupt sound by blowing a horn" and "to gulp in drinking" 1400, with cognates in LG, MLG and MDu). Cf. Skt. root PAA- and verb forms PAPAATHA/PAPE, etc., akin to PAPI. All refer to drinking, swallowing, and drinking liquor. Cf. Eng. POP (1812), "a name for any effervescing beverage, esp. ginger-beer or champagne"; SODA POP. Yes, there is also the sound of a popping cork involved in opening champagne. Skt. PAA- created cognates in Latin Greek and Slavic, but none of them have the letter p in them, according to Monier-Williams. PAA- also means "drink up, exhaust". Cf? U.S. POOPED (1931, origin unknown), "exhausted, tired".

--Prior to 1100, there was Eng. PRAETTI3 (PRATI, 1400) and it meant "cunning, astute, wily, clever". Then circa 1400, it changed to PRETY, then PREATIE/PRITTIE in 1500. Around this time it gained the definiton of "pleasing to the eyes, ears or the aesthetic sense; admirable; beautiful, satisfying; commendable; good-mannered; having proper appearance; soothing".

Cf. Skt. PRIITI, "pleasure, kindness, satisfaction; favor; affection, love [i.e., "lovely"?]; grace", from root PRII, "soothe; be kind, loving".

I found no cognates for outside of English for the "pretty, satisfying" definition.

--PRETTY (1565, no apparent cognates; supposedly related to PRETTY mentioned above), meaning "to a moderate degree; in close approximation; very nearly", used in comparisons (e.g., "pretty good, but not great"). Cf. Skt. PRATI/PRATY, "near to; like or comparable to; in the direction of; on a par with; in proportion to; in the vicinity of".

--Eng. PRIDE (< OE PRYDO/PRYTO < ON) originally referred to feelings of haughtiness, glory, proudness, gallantry, pomp, high self-esteem, arrogance, contempt and love of ornamentation. These are antagonistic emotions. But in 1486, there are the meanings of "sexual desire, especially in animals" (cf. LION's PRIDE) and "feelings of elation, pleasure, satisfaction" (1597; spelled PRID circa 1200-1500).

Cf. Skt. root PRID, "gladden, delight"; root PRII-, "please, gladden, satisfy; to love, be kind", akin to PRIITI, "pleasure, satisfaction, love".

--Cf. Eng. RAP, "utter, say, speak" (1541) and Skt. root RAP, "say". The English word is believed to be related to RAP, "knock, strike", but the definition "talk" shows no actual semantic resemblance to it.

--Eng. RIP, akin to MSw REPPA, MLG REPPEN, etc., is of obscure origin and history. OED says "it is not quite certain that all the sense really belong to the same word." As we shall see, some of the Sanskrit words tend to blend together as just as in English, creating confusion. Whether there is an Indo-European root is not specified by OED, but there is defintely a continuing Sanskritic influence through the years:

**1) 1477: "to cut, pull or tear (anything) from something else".

1640: "to take the tiles off (a building)". Cf. Skt. RII-/RI-/REPAYATI, "detach, sever".

**2) 1565: "to open up (wounds) again in a harsh manner".

1575: "to slash, tear, open with violence". Cf. aforementioned RII/REPAYATI; RIPH-, "hurt, kill";

RIPH-, "hurt"; RIP (#2), "injury".

**3) 1570: "bring into discussion (something unpleasing or discrediting); make a (strong) utterance". Cf. Skt. root RIPH-, "reproach"; RIPH, "snarl, blame".

**4) 1549: "open up, lay bare".

1853: "let (someone, something) go."

1855: "a rapid rush". Cf. Skt. root RII/REPAYATI, "let go, release, set free"; Skt. root REP-, "go". ("Let it rip!")

**5) 950: (RIPE), "to rob".

1200: (RIP), "rob".

1967: (RIP OFF) "rob, cheat, deceive".

1971: "cheat, deceive, rob". Cf. Skt. root RIP- (#1), "deceive, cheat"; root RIP (#2), "deceit".

**6) There is also the English noun RIP, which is believed to be related to Eng. RIP mentioned above: "a broken stretch of the sea"; RIPPLE, "to flow into ripples", which are associated with water; RIPPLE, "break up (ground"; RIP CURRENT. Cf. Skt. RII-/REPAYATI, "be shattered; become fluid, flow".

**7) There is also another noun, RIP/REP (sb6), "an inferior, worthless horse" (1778); "a worthless, dissolute fellow, rake" (1797); "something of little value" (1815); "immoral person". Cf. Skt. REPA, "low, wicked", akin to RIPRA, "vile, bad" from the Skt. root RIP- (#2). Also Skt. RIPU,"rogue".

**8) Eng. RIB (1393; cf. G. RIPPEN), "to rub or scrape (flax, hemp) with an iron tool of a core adhering to it after the process of breaking". Cf? Skt. root RIP-, "adhere"; RII/REPAYATI, "detach from".


(1828), "sound (of water)". Cf. Skt. root REP-, "sound"; RII-/REPAYATI, "flow, become fluid".

--Eng. RUMBLE (from ROMBEL, 1386 with Germanic cognates; "perhaps properly a Low German word"): "(verb) to make a disturbance, noise or tumult; (noun) a growling sound (thunder, cannon); uproar". Cf. Skt. root RAMB-, "to sound, roar", more closely pronounced "reumb-". It is significant to note that the English form of the word is the only one spelled with the letter b, while the cognates lack it.

--Skt. SHIVA means "auspicious, benevolent, kind; fortunate, welfare; final emancipation." Cf. the following English words derived from the French (1300-1400) in which ch is pronounced as sh: CHEVE/CHIEVE, "to come to or obtain an end, succeed; prosper, fare well; to do homage to; achieve (actually a' chieve)".

CHEVANCE/CHIEVANCE, "success in acquiring wealth; wealth; accomplishment".

CHEVISANCE, "help, assistance rendered".

CHIVALRY, "a kind, gallant act".

CHEVE DAY (1461), "day of a patron saint".

There is also the related word CHIEF, "a head-person", supposedly from Latin CAPUT, "head". I would say that the basis is actually someone in charge, like a Lord. Shiva and "Ring around the Rosy"

**CF. Cf. 1) Skt. SHIVA/SHAIVA plus SHIBA, the latter being the Bengal/Assamese equivalent. 2) Modern German SCHIEFE, "crookedness", akin to such earlier, related words SCHEVE, SCHEWE, SCHEIWE, SCHEIV, SCHEIB, and SCHIEB < roots *SKAIBA and *SKAIFA. Anglo-Saxon SCEA’F-FOT, "twisted, curved, bent, warped foot" and "splay-foot", a medical condition marked by having the foot turned outward, not straight. Shiva’s foot is described as being curved in the middle with the toes bent down. (< Skt. KUN~CITA, "bent, curved, crooked"). His heel is also raised. Consider Ger. SCHIEF, which can also be used to imply "slant"; Turkish S[H]IV/S[H]EV, "bevel"; Eng. SHEVELING-HEELED, "twisted, distorted, downtrodden heel". Shiva also walks with a swagger, literally with the leg turned out. Cf. Eng. SHEVEL, "walk crookedly"; Ukr. SHEVERNOGII*, "bowlegged", that is, with the leg turned outward. See The Dance of Siva by David Smith on pp. 8 and 164 for a description of his feet.

**The Sanskrit word SHAKTII (also see SHOCK) means "power", and it can also be used as meaning of "the meaning of words". Therefore, one can interpret the phrase shakti of Shiva as "the meaning of Shiva-like words". One such shakti is Kundalini (feminine form of Skt. KUNDALA, "coil; coil of rope"). Cf. Eng. SHEAVE, "layer of a coil of rope", akin to SHIVE and SHIVER < Old Saxon SCIVA, OHG. SCIBA, Ger. SCHEIBE.

**There is also the English word SHIVE < OS. SCIVA, involving a coil of rope or metal and throwing it over a stake, like the American game of horseshoes. This mimics a pole-like linga ("penis") surrounded a yonii ("vulva") at the base, an obvious sexual connection. OED admits uncertainty as to etymology except to say there is a French connection. I would suggest French COIT, "coitus". This concept is backed up by the fact that QUOIT later means "buttocks" (cf. "piece of ass"). There is a union of ecstasy between Kundalini and Shiva.

**Shiva has matted hair, so confer Eng. SHEVELLED/ SHIEVELD, old forms of DISHEVELLED, "unkempt", which ususally refers to hair. Compare Croatian SHIVETA, "mat, hassock, plaited hair." Ukrainian SHEVELYURA, "thick hair, chevelure". Wigs of olden days were made of densely matted material. Mukta-keshii, "with shieveld hair", is a shakti of Shiva. Siva, Bhavani and Shiva

**Vikrita-mukhii is a shakti: VIKRITA, "deformed, distorted, misshapen" + MUKHII, "mouth, face". Cf.

Eng. SHEVEL-MOUTH and Sc. SHAIVLEMOOT, "distorted mouth".

**Mundaa, "shaved", is a shakti. Cf. Eng. SHAVE < OE. SCEAFA/SCEABA/SCAEBA; Eng./Nor. SKIVE, "shave (leather)", of Scandinavian origin.

**Bhairavii, "horrible, terrible", is a shakti. Shiva himself is Bhairava/Bhairab. Cf. Eng. SHIVER (1250), "to tremble due to fear or cold".

**Shiva himself is considered The Destroyer. Cf. Eng. SHIVER (1200; later SHEAVE), "to break, shatter or split into fragments".

**"In the southern school [of Shaivism], the workings of Shiva and the shakti are figuratively illustrated by the analogy of the reproductive organism of a lotus, where the stamens of the lotus are compared to the lord and pistil to the shakti-tattva." Cf. Eng. CHIVE/SHIVE/CHIEVE/CHYVE, "threadlike stamens and pistils, sometimes of the saffron crocus".

**SHIVA JYOTIS, "Shiva-light", the fire, is considered a linga. JYOTI’ can also refer to sunlight, so consider ENG. SHIVELIGHT (1850), a "sliver of light".

For the sake of this article, the word sliver.There is " a story of ascendancy that is very important in Ka’shi’ [Benares] lore: the Famous myth in which Shiva’s linga splits open the earth as a fiery column of light. The [resulting] shaft is flanked by… Brahma’ on the one side, and Lord Vishnu on the other, both kneeling in reverence upon their divine lotus blossoms. The shaft, with flames shooting from its sides, has been broken…" There are "twelve places where the linga…shone forth in a fiery column of light [all in Ka’shi’/Benares]; the sixty-eight places where Shiva’s lingas are said to have emerged from the earth". There are several temples in Benares, one of which is three feet underground with only enough room for one worshipper and a stone linga

The light linga is the supreme "partless" reality, out of which Shiva may sometimes appear in bodily form as a "partial" reality At one point, "Shiva vowed that this [large] unfathomable linga would become small so that the people might have it as an emblem for their worship". (Eck)

**From a passage about the lin’ga: "Sex symbolism has long been associated with husbandry and the implements connected with it. The Sanskrit word for plough is LA’N’GULA/LA’N’GALA, denoting both a digging implement and phallus. The female pudenda is similarly associated with ploughing and identified with the furrow as personified linguistically by Sita" (less correctly written S’[H]I’TA’). Sita is represented by a plowshare She was created when her father Janaka was plowing a field. He emblazoned a plow on his standard in her honor."

The reasons for these associations stem from Hindus’ views of the Mother Earth as a womb which is impregnated by the male sun/sky using rain as sperm. The furrow/vagina represents the opening/parting into the womb. Compare English SHIVER, "breastplate of a plow," akin to SHEAVE and SHIVE < OS. SCIVA; Eng. SHEAT(H), "plow bar connecting the beam and sole in front". OED lists this quote: "According to the position of the sheath, the earth of the furrow is turned over more suddenly".

The word SIITAA (less correctly SHIITAA) changes into SAITA and SHAITA, "worshipper of Sita". SIITAA can also used to denote a parting of the hair or vagina (Consider German SCHEITELN, "to part (hair)"; SCHEITEL, "parting of hair"; SCHEIDE, "parting, vagina", akin to M.E. SCHEDE/SCHETE < O.E. SCEATH.

--Eng. SHEET (sb1) < OE SCIETE/SCETE comes from the theoretical root SKAUT-, "corner, quarter, region, bosom, skirt, cloth", akin to various Germanic words (SKUT, skot, SCHOOT, ETC.) meaning "sail-rope." Some additional definitions are added to SHEET later on:

**725: "cloth, towel; broad piece of linen, cotton or canvas and the like forcovering, swathing or protecting from injury."

**1250: "piece of fabric for bedding."

Eng. SHEET (sb2) < OE SCEATA. At the earliest stages, it has the definitions associated with SHEET (sb1). No European cognates except Middle Low German, which occurs later. In 1336, its original definition is "a rope attached to lower corners of a sail." Cf.

Pali/Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit SHIITA ("sheetuh"), meaning "sail"; SHITAA, "rope?" See Turner, p. 773).

Now back to SHEET (sb1, also spelled SHIT): in the late 1500's, it means "a broad expanse of something laying out flat, presenting a white or glistening surface, or forming a relatively thin surface." Cf. Skt. SHITA, "thin"; Skt. SHITI/SITA or Pali SITA, "white, bright"; phrase WHITE AS A SHEET; SHEET-COW, "a cow with a white band around the body"; Skt. SIITAA/SHIITAA, "line, track, furrow", i.e., a band of sorts.

SHEET (sb1) is also used to describe bookbinding. Cf. Skt. SITA, "bound".

--Eng. SHOCK (1565, of obscure origin, perhaps from French or Spanish) originally referred to a military charge. In 1614, it means "a violent blow; blow, collision tending to overthrow; a sudden, large application of energy." Akin to SHAKE (1380). Cf. Skt. root SHAK (pronounced close to "shook"), "be powerful"; SHAKYATE, "be subdued;" SHAKTII, "energy, power, strength, effort, power over."

--Eng. SHRIVEL (1547, origin unknown, perhaps from Swedish SKRYVLA, "to wrinkle"). It means to become wrinkled or dried up because of heat or cold." Cf. Skt. root SHRIV/SRIV/SRIIV, "go or become dry", akin to SRUUTA, "withered".

Later, Eng. SHRIVEL also means "to reduce to ineffectiveness or helplessness" (1663). Another definition of Skt. SHRIV is "frustrate, thwart; cause to fail; turn out badly."

Note that the English word has two definitions identical with the Sanskrit, while the Swedish has only one, apparently.

--Eng. SMILE appears circa 1300 and is related to Lithuanian and Sanskrit root SMI-, nothing new about that. Skt. root SMI- (with verb forms like SMITVAA and SMETA) also means "shine, become red or radiant", akin to SMITA, "smiling; blossoming". Cf. Eng. SMIT, "reddish ore", 1728). It also has addditional definitions, so see SMIRK, below.

Then there is the unrelated OE SMITE, "to strike physically, inflict injury", obviously implying violence.

But in 1588, SMITE means "to beat or shine upon". See Skt. root SMI-/SMITVAA, above. In 1300, Eng. SMITE also means "to strike with emotion", then "to enamour" (1663). Cf. a different Skt. root SMIT-, "to love".

In 1700, SMILE also means "to sparkle (applied to alcohol)". Cf. Skt. root SMIIL, "to twinkle" which is synonymous with sparkle. This is indicative of another Sanskritic chain.

--Eng. SMIRK (888, SMEARCIAN, "no cognate languages") originally meant "to smile" (cf. SMILE, above). "In later use [SMIRK, 1300-1500?], 'to smile in an affected, silly, or self-satisfied manner'". Cf. Skt. root SMI, "to laugh at, mock, despise; be proud or arrogant"; akin to SMERA, "smiling, friendly".

--Some mental visualization is needed for the following: Eng. TWANG (1553, no European cognates) refers to giving forth the resonant, reverberating sound produced by a tense stringed instrument when plucked. Cf. Skt. TVAN'G, "tremble, wave". Cf. Eng. TREMULOUS and SHIVERING, both of which can refer to trembling and sound. (Note: In Sanskrit, the letters tv together are pronounced as tw.)

--Webster's says that English VARNISH is derived from the town of Berenice, where the substance originated. (However, OED says, "Of unknown origin", indicating there is no definitive answer to language theory!) It engendered medieval Gr. BERENIKE, It. VERNICE, Sp. BARNIZ and Eng. VERNISSHE (1341), references to the resinous matter. In the 1500's, it becomes VARNISH in English. Then it gains some additional definitions in the 1500's and 1600's: (noun) "a pleasing gloss or outward show, a pretence; a means of embellishment; a beautifying or improving quality; an external appearance or display of some quality without underlying reality." Compare these definitions of Skt. VARN.A: "a covering, outward appearance; form or figure; color (for painting); good color, beauty, lustre; quality or or property (applied to people or things)". The root VARN. means "to color, spread", which is synonymous with the verb VARNISH, "to paint with varnish".

In addition to the above, the verb form of VARNISH means "to cover with a deceptive appearance, disguise, gloss over". Cf. the related Skt. word VARN.AKAA, "a color; mask; assumption of a mask", akin to VARNA., "cover".

--Eng. WANT < VANT < O.N. VANT, "ultimately of Scandinavian origin", according to Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Circa 1200, it means "missing, deficient in, lacking in or short of, non-existent in (a thing or quality)." Then circa 1570, it refers to the mental process of desiring or wishing. Now, while it is logical to assume that if you lack something (e.g., money or food), then you want it. But there is a distinct difference between the two: one is a condition or state of existence, while the other is a deliberate, active mental process ("I want food!").

Similarly when something, such as food, is lacking in flavor, we do not expect it to say, "I desire some flavor!".

So now we come to the Sanskrit. Cf. root VAN > VANTA/-VANTAVE, "wish, desire; to gain, acquire." But there is no mention of being lacking or non-existent (like in food flavor). Actually the verb, which also means "conquer, win, become master of, possess", implies use of force ("I want this!"). This satisfies one basic definition of Eng. WANT, but not another.

This is a good example of convergence of two different, but similar, concepts.

--Curly of The Three Stooges says, "Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!" Cf. Skt. NY-UC, "to take pleasure in something".

Suggested Further Reading

Suggestions for Further Reading



Bosworth, Joseph and Toller, T. Northcote.

An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary

Cassell's Italian Dictionary

Cassell's New Latin Dictionary

Dimmitt, Cornelia. Sita: Fertility Goddess and Sakti,

in The Divine Consort, J.S. Hawley and D>M. Wulff,

editors, p. 211

Eck, Diana. Benares: The City of Lights

Eliade, Morcea, editor. The Encyclopedia of Religion,

p. 402, vol. 8

Frazer, James George. The Golden Bough

Fuller, C.J. The Camphor Flame

Mansion, J.E. Harrap's New Shorter French and English Dictionary

Hastings, James, ed. Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics

Kinsley, David R. "Kali: Blood and Death out of Place", in Devi, Goddesses of India by John S. Hawley and Donna M. Wulff

Monier-Williams, Monier. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary

O'Flaherty, Wendy Doniger. "The Shifting Balance of Power in the Marriage of Siva and Parvati" (pp. 134-5)

in The Divine Consort, John Stratton Hawley and Donna Marie Wulff, editors.

Oxford English Dictionary, second edition

Oxford Latin Dictionary

Stutley, Margaret and James. Harper's Dictionary of Hinduism

Turner, R.L. A Comparative Dictionary of the Indo-Aryan Languages

Walker, Benjamin. The Hindu World

Webster's Third International Dictionary


Source: © Mr. Richard Stoney of Humboldt County, California, USA. No part of this article shall be reproduced in any manner either in part or in full without the prior permission of its author. This work is based on research by Mr.Richard Stoney starting in early 1990's. The author conveys his thanks to Sunder Hattangadi for his assistance. Richard is also author ofThe English words you speak from Sanskrit

Attribution: The image in this article showing the distribution of Indo European languages is reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike Unreported License



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