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Hobson-Jobson: A glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive
[page xv]
Introductory Remarks

WORDS of Indian origin have been insinuating themselves into English ever since the end of the reign of Elizabeth and the beginning of that of King James, when such terms as calico, chintz, and gingham had already effected a lodgment in English warehouses and shops, and were lying in wait for entrance into English literature. Such outlandish guests grew more frequent 120 years ago, when, soon after the middle of last century, the numbers of Englishmen in the Indian services, civil and military, expanded with the great acquisition of dominion then made by the Company; and we meet them in vastly greater abundance now.

Vocabularies of Indian and other foreign words, in use among Europeans in the East, have not unfrequently been printed. Several of the old travellers have attached the like to their narratives; whilst the prolonged excitement created in England, a hundred years since, by the impeachment of Hastings and kindred matters, led to the publication of several glossaries as independent works; and a good many others have been published in later days. At the end of this Introduction will be found a list of those which have come under my notice, and this might no doubt be largely added to.*

Of modern Glossaries, such as have been the result of serious labour, all, or nearly all, have been of a kind purely technical, intended to facilitate the comprehension of official documents by the explanation of terms used in the Revenue department, or in other branches of Indian administration. The most notable examples are (of brief and occasional character) the Glossary appended to the famous Fifth Report of the Select Committee of 1812, which was compiled by Sir Charles Wilkins; and (of a far more vast and comprehensive sort), the late Professor Horace Hayman Wilson's Glossary of Judicial and Revenue Terms (4to, 1855) which leaves far behind every other attempt in that kind.†

That kind is however, not ours, as a momentary comparison of a page or two in each Glossary would suffice to show. Our work indeed in the long course of its compilation, has gone through some modification and enlargement of scope; but hardly such as in any degree to affect its distinctive character, in which something has been aimed at differing in form from any work known to us. In its original conception it was intended to deal with all that class of words which, not in general pertaining to the technicalities of administration, recur constantly in the daily intercourse of the English in India, either as expressing ideas really not provided for by

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*  See Note A at end of Introduction.
†  Professor Wilson's work may perhaps bear re-editing, but can hardly, for its purpose, be superseded. The late eminent Telugu scholar, Mr. C. P. Brown, interleaved, with criticisms and addenda, a copy of Wilson, which is now in the India Library. I have gone through it, and borrowed a few notes, with acknowledgment by the initials C. P. B. The amount of improvement does not strike me as important.


[page xvi]
our mother-tongue, or supposed by the speakers (often quite erroneously) to express something not capable of just denotation by any English term. A certain percentage of such words have been carried to England by the constant reflux to their native shore of Anglo-Indians, who in some degree imbue with their notions and phraseology the circles from which they had gone forth. This effect has been still more promoted by the currency of a vast mass of literature, of all qualities and for all ages, dealing with Indian subjects; as well as by the regular appearance, for many years past, of Indian correspondence in English newspapers, insomuch that a considerable number of the expressions in question have not only become familiar in sound to English ears, but have become naturalised in the English language, and are meeting with ample recognition in the great Dictionary edited by Dr. Murray at Oxford.

Of words that seem to have been admitted to full franchise, we may give examples in curry, toddy, veranda, cheroot, loot, nabob, teapoy, sepoy, cowry; and of others familiar enough to the English ear, though hardly yet received into citizenship, compound, batta, pucka, chowry, baboo, mahout, aya, nautch,* first-chop, competition-wallah, griffin, &c. But beyond these two classes of words, received within the last century or so, and gradually, into half or whole recognition, there are a good many others, long since fully assimilated, which really originated in the adoption of an Indian word, or the modification of an Indian proper name. Such words are the three quoted at the beginning of these remarks, chintz, calico, gingham, also shawl, bamboo, pagoda, typhoon, monsoon, mandarin, palanquin,† &c., and I may mention among further examples which may perhaps surprise my readers, the names of three of the boats of a man-of-war, viz. the cutter, the jolly-boat, and the dingy, as all (probably) of Indian origin.‡ Even phrases of a different character—slang indeed, but slang generally supposed to be vernacular as well as vulgar—e.g. 'that is the cheese';‡ or supposed to be vernacular and profane—e.g. 'I don't care a dam'‡—are in reality, however vulgar they may be, neither vernacular nor profane, but phrases turning upon innocent Hindustani vocables.

We proposed also, in our Glossary, to deal with a selection of those administrative terms, which are in such familiar and quotidian use as to form part of the common Anglo-Indian stock, and to trace all (so far as possible) to their true origin—a matter on which, in regard to many of the words, those who hourly use them are profoundly ignorant—and to follow them down by quotation from their earliest occurrence in literature.

A particular class of words are those indigenous terms which have been adopted in scientific nomenclature, botanical and zoological. On these Mr. Burnell remarks:—

"The first Indian botanical names were chiefly introduced by Garcia de Orta (Colloquios, printed at Goa in 1563), C. d'Acosta (Tractado, Burgos, 1578), and Rhede van Drakenstein (Hortus Malabaricus, Amsterdam, 1682). The Malay names were chiefly introduced by Rumphius (Herbarium Amboinense,

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*  Nautch, it may be urged, is admitted to full franchise, being used by so eminent a writer as Mr. Browning. But the fact that his use is entirely misuse, seems to justify the classification in the text (see GLOSS., s.v.). A like remark applies to compound. See for the tremendous fiasco made in its intended use by a most intelligent lady novelist, the last quotation s.v. in GLOSS.
†  GLOSS, s.v. (note p. 659, col. a), contains quotations from the Vulgate of the passage in Canticles iii. 9, regarding King Solomon's ferculum of Lebanon cedar. I have to thank an old friend for pointing out that the word palanquin has, in this passage, received solemn sanction by its introduction into the Revised Version.
‡  See these words in GLOSS.


[page xvii]
completed before 1700, but not published till 1741). The Indian zoological terms were chiefly due to Dr. F. Buchanan, at the beginning of this century. Most of the N. Indian botanical words were introduced by Roxburgh."

It has been already intimated that, as the work proceeded, its scope expanded somewhat, and its authors found it expedient to introduce and trace many words of Asiatic origin which have disappeared from colloquial use, or perhaps never entered it, but which occur in old writers on the East. We also judged that it would add to the interest of the work, were we to investigate and make out the pedigree of a variety of geographical names which are or have been in familiar use in books on the Indies; take as examples Bombay, Madras, Guardafui, Malabar, Moluccas, Zanzibar, Pegu, Sumatra, Quilon, Seychelles, Ceylon, Java, Ava, Japan, Doab, Punjab, &c., illustrating these, like every other class of word, by quotations given in chronological series.

Other divagations still from the original project will probably present themselves to those who turn over the pages of the work, in which we have been tempted to introduce sundry subjects which may seem hardly to come within the scope of such a glossary.

The words with which we have to do, taking the most extensive view of the field, are in fact organic remains deposited under the various currents of external influence that have washed the shores of India during twenty centuries and more. Rejecting that derivation of elephant* which would connect it with the Ophir trade of Solomon, we find no existing Western term traceable to that episode of communication; but the Greek and Roman commerce of the later centuries has left its fossils on both sides, testifying to the intercourse that once subsisted. Agallochum, carbasus, camphor, sandal, musk, nard, pepper (πἐπερι, from Skt. pippali, 'long pepper'), ginger (ζιγγἱβερις, see under Ginger), lac, costus, opal, malabathrum or folium indicum, beryl, sugar (σάκχαρ, from Skt. sarkara, Prak. sakkara), rice (óρυζα, but see s.v.), were products or names, introduced from India to the Greek and Roman world, to which may be added a few terms of a different character, such as βραχμανες, Σαρμάνες (śramaṇas, or Buddhist ascetics), ζ́ύλα σαγαλíνα καὶ σασαμíνα (logs of teak and shīsham), the σάγγαρα (rafts) of the Periplus (see Jangar in GLOSS.); whilst dīndra, dramma, perhaps kastīra ('tin,' κασσíτερος), kastūrī ('musk,' καστóριον, properly a different, though analogous animal product), and a very few more, have remained in Indian literature as testimony to the same intercourse.†

The trade and conquests of the Arabs both brought foreign words to India and picked up and carried westward, in form more or less corrupted, words of Indian origin, some of which have in one way or other become part of the heritage of all succeeding foreigners in the East. Among terms which are familiar items in the Anglo-Indian colloquial, but which had, in some shape or other, found their way at an early date into use on the shores of the Mediterranean, we may instance bazaar, cazee, hummaul, brinjaul, gingely, safflower, grab, maramut, dewaun (dogana, douane, &c.). Of others which are found in medieval literature, either West-Asiatic or European, and which still have a place in Anglo-Indian or English vocabulary, we may mention amber-gris, chank, junk, jogy, kincob, kedgeree, fanam, calay, bankshall, mudiliar, tindal, cranny.

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*  See this word in GLOSS.
†  See A. Weber, in Indian Antiquary, ii. 143 seqq. Most of the other Greek words, which he traces in Sanskrit, are astronomical terms derived from books.


[page xviii]

The conquests and long occupation of the Portuguese, who by the year 1540 had established themselves in all the chief ports of India and the East, have, as might have been expected, bequeathed a large number of expressions to the European nations who have followed, and in great part superseded them. We find instances of missionaries and others at an early date who had acquired a knowledge of Indian languages, but these were exceptional.* The natives in contact with the Portuguese learned a bastard variety of the language of the latter, which became the lingua franca of intercourse, not only between European and native, but occasionally between Europeans of different nationalities. This Indo-Portuguese dialect continued so serve such purposes down to a late period in the last century, and has in some localities survived down nearly to our own day.† The number of people in India claiming to be of Portuguese descent was, in the 17th century, very large. Bernier, about 1660, says:—

"For he (Sultan Shujā', Aurangzeb's brother) much courted all those Portugal Fathers, Missionaries, that are in that Province. . . . And they were indeed capable to serve him, it being certain that in the kingdom of Bengale there are to be found not less than eight or nine thousand families of Franguis, Portugals, and these either Natives or Mesticks." (Bernier, E.T. of 1684, p. 27.)

A. Hamilton, whose experience belonged chiefly to the end of the same century, though his book was not published till 1727, states:—

"Along the Sea-coasts the Portuguese have left a Vestige of their Language, tho' much corrupted, yet it is the Language that most Europeans learn first to qualify them for a general Converse with one another, as well as with the different inhabitants of India." (Preface, p. xii.)

Lockyer, who published 16 years before Hamilton, also says:—

"This they (the Portugueze) may justly boast, they have established a kind of Lingua Franca in all the Sea Ports in India, of great use to other Europeans, who would find it difficult in many places to be well understood without it." (An Account of the Trade in India, 1711, p. 286.)

The early Lutheran Missionaries in the South, who went out for the S.P.C.K., all seem to have begun by learning Portuguese, and in their diaries speak of preaching occasionally in Portuguese.‡ The foundation of this lingua franca was the Portuguese of the beginning of the 16th century; but it must have soon degenerated, for by the beginning of the last century it had lost nearly all trace of inflexion.§

It may from these remarks be easily understood how a large number of

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*  Varthema, at the very beginning of the 16th century, shows some acquaintance with Malayālam, and introduces pieces of conversation in that language. Before the end of the 16th century, printing had been introduced at other places besides Goa, and by the beginning of the 17th, several books in Indian languages had been printed at Goa, Cochin, and Ambalakkāḍu.—(A. B.)
†  "At Point de Galle, in 1860, I found it in common use, and also, somewhat later, at Calecut."—(A. B.)
‡  See "Notices of Madras and Cuddalore, &c., by the earlier Missionaries." Longman, 1858, passim. See also Manual, &c. in BOOK-LIST, infra p. xxxix. Dr Carey, writing from Serampore as late as 1800, says that the children of Europeans by native women, whether children of English, French, Dutch, or Danes, were all called Portuguese. Smith's Life of Carey, 152.
§  See Note B at end of Introductory Remarks. "Mr. Beames remarked some time ago that most of the names of places in South India are greatly disfigured in the forms used by Europeans. This is because we have adopted the Portuguese orthography. Only in this way it can be explained how Kolladam has become Coleroon, Solamaṇdalam, Coromandel, and Tuttukkudi, Tuticorin." (A. B.) Mr. Burnell was so impressed with the excessive corruption of S. Indian names, that he would hardly ever willingly venture any explanation of them, considering the matter all too uncertain.


[page xix]
our Anglo-Indian colloquialisms, even if eventually traceable to native sources (and especially to Mahratti, or Dravidian originals) have come to us through a Portuguese medium, and often bear traces of having passed through that alembic. Not a few of these are familiar all over India, but the number current in the South is larger still. Some other Portuguese words also, though they can hardly be said to be recognized elements in the Anglo-Indian colloquial, have been introduced either into Hindustani generally, or into that shade of it which is in use among natives in habitual contact with Europeans. Of words which are essentially Portuguese, among Anglo-Indian colloquialisms, persistent or obsolete, we may quote goglet, gram, plantain, muster, caste, peon, padre, mistry or maistry, almyra, aya, cobra, mosquito, pomfret, cameez, palmyra, still in general use; picotta, rolong, pial, fogass, margosa, preserved in the South; batel, brab, foras, oart, vellard in Bombay; joss, compradore, linguist in the ports of China; and among more or less obsolete terms, Moor, for a Mahommedan, still surviving under the modified form Moorman, in Madras and Ceylon; Gentoo, still partially kept up, I believe, at Madras in application to the Telugu language, mustees, castees, bandeja ('a tray'), Kittysol ('an umbrella,' and this survived ten years ago in the Calcutta customs tariff), cuspadore ('a spittoon'), and covid ('a cubit or ell'). Words of native origin which bear the mark of having come to us through the Portuguese may be illustrated by such as palanquin, mandarin, mangelin (a small weight for pearls, &c.) monsoon, typhoon, mango, mangosteen, jack-fruit, batta, curry, chop, congee, coir, cutch, catamaran, cassanar, nabob, avadavat, betel, areca, benzoin, corge, copra.* A few examples of Hindustani words borrowed from the Portuguese are chābī ('a key'), bāola ('a portmanteau'), bāltī ('a bucket'), martol ('a hammer'), tauliya ('a towel,' Port. toalha), sābūn ('soap'), bāsan ('plate' from Port. bacia), līlām and nīlām ('an auction'), besides a number of terms used by Lascars on board ship.

The Dutch language has not contributed much to our store. The Dutch and the English arrived in the Indies contemporaneously, and though both inherited from the Portuguese, we have not been the heirs of the Dutch to any great extent, except in Ceylon, and even there Portuguese vocables had already occupied the colloquial ground. Petersilly, the word in general use in English families for 'parsley,' appears to be Dutch. An example from Ceylon that occurs to memory is burgher. The Dutch admitted people of mixt descent to a kind of citizenship, and these were distinguished from the pure natives by this term, which survives. Burgher in Bengal means 'a rafter,' properly bargā. A word spelt and pronounced in the same way had again a curiously different application in Madras, where it was a corruption of Vaḍagar, the name given to a tribe in the Nilgherry hills;—to say nothing of Scotland, where Burghers and Antiburghers were Northern tribes (veluti Gog et Magog!) which have long been condensed into elements of the United Presbyterian Church—!

Southern India has contributed to the Anglo-Indian stock words that are in hourly use also from Calcutta to Peshawur (some of them already noted under another cleavage), e.g. betel, mango, jack, cheroot, mungoose, pariah, bandicoot, teak, patcharee, chatty, catechu, tope ('a grove'), curry, mulligatawny, congee. Mamooty (a digging tool) is familiar in certain branches of the

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*  The nasal termination given to many Indian words, when adopted into European use, as in palanquin, mandarin, &c., must be attributed mainly to the Portuguese; but it cannot be entirely due to them. For we find the nasal termination of Achīn, in Mahommedan writers (see p. 3), and that of Cochin before the Portuguese time (see p. 225), whilst the conversion of Pasei, in Sumatra, into Pacem, as the Portuguese call it, is already indicated in the Basma of Marco Polo.


[page xx]
service, owing to its having long had a place in the nomenclature of the Ordnance department. It is Tamil, manvetti, 'earth-cutter.' Of some very familiar words the origin remains either dubious, or matter only for conjecture. Examples are hackery (which arose apparently in Bombay), florican, topaz.

As to Hindustani words adopted into the Anglo-Indian colloquial the subject is almost too wide and loose for much remark. The habit of introducing these in English conversation and writing seems to prevail more largely in the Bengal Presidency than in any other, and especially more than in Madras, where the variety of different vernaculars in use has tended to make their acquisition by the English less universal than is in the north that of Hindustani, which is so much easier to learn, and also to make the use in former days of Portuguese, and now of English, by natives in contact with foreigners, and of French about the French settlements, very much more common than it is elsewhere. It is this bad habit of interlarding English with Hindustani phrases which has so often excited the just wrath of high English officials, not accustomed to it from their youth, and which (e.g.) drew forth in orders the humorous indignation of Sir Charles Napier.

One peculiarity in this use we may notice, which doubtless exemplifies some obscure linguistic law. Hindustani verbs which are thus used are habitually adopted into the quasi-English by converting the imperative into an infinitive. Thus to bunow, to lugow, to foozilow, to puckarow, to dumbcow, to sumjow, and so on, almost ad libitum, are formed as we have indicated.*

It is curious to note that several of our most common adoptions are due to what may be most especially called the Oordoo (Urdū) or 'Camp' language, being terms which the hosts of Chinghiz brought from the steppes of North Eastern Asia—e.g. "The old Bukshee is an awful bahadur, but he keeps a first-rate bobachee." That is a sentence which might easily have passed without remark at an Anglo-Indian mess-table thirty years ago—perhaps might be heard still. Each of the outlandish terms embraced in it came from the depths of Mongolia in the thirteenth century. Chick (in the sense of a cane-blind), daroga, oordoo itself, are other examples.

With the gradual assumption of administration after the middle of last century, we adopted into partial colloquial use an immense number of terms, very many of them Persian or Arabic, belonging to technicalities of revenue and other departments, and largely borrowed from our Mahommedan predecessors. Malay has contributed some of our most familiar expressions, owing partly to the ceaseless rovings among the Eastern coasts of the Portuguese, through whom a part of these reached us, and partly doubtless to the fact that our early dealings and the sites of our early factories lay much more on the shores of the Eastern Archipelago than on those of Continental India. Paddy, godown, compound, bankshall, rattan, durian, a-muck, prow, and cadjan, junk, crease, are some of these. It is true that several of them may be traced eventually to Indian originals, but it seems not the less certain that we got them through the Malay, just as we got words already indicated through the Portuguese.

We used to have a very few words in French form, such as boutique and mort-de-chien. But these two are really distortions of Portuguese words.

A few words from China have settled on the Indian shores and been adopted by Anglo-India, but most of them are, I think, names of fruits or

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*  The first five examples will be found in GLOSS. Banāo, is imperative of banā-nā, 'to fabricate' ;lagāo of lagā-nā, 'to lay alongside,' &c.; sumjhāo, of samjhā-nā, 'to cause to understand,' &c;.


[page xxi]
other products which have been imported, such as loquot, leechee, chow-chow, cumquat, ginseng, &c. and (recently) jinrickshaw. For it must be noted that a considerable proportion of words much used in Chinese ports, and often ascribed to a Chinese origin, such as mandarin, junk, chop, pagoda, and (as I believe) typhoon (though this is a word much debated) are not Chinese at all, but words of Indian languages, or of Malay, which have been precipitated in Chinese waters during the flux and reflux of foreign trade.

Within my own earliest memory Spanish dollars were current in England at a specified value if they bore a stamp from the English mint. And similarly there are certain English words, often obsolete in Europe, which have received in India currency with a special stamp of meaning; whilst in other cases our language has formed in India new compounds applicable to new objects or shades of meaning. To one or other of these classes belong outcry, buggy, home, interloper, rogue (-elephant), tiffin, furlough, elk, roundel ('an umbrella,' obsolete), pish-pash, earth-oil, hog-deer, flying-fox, garden-house, musk-rat, nor-wester, iron-wood, long-drawers, barking-deer, custard-apple, grass-cutter, &c.

Other terms again are corruptions, more or less violent, of Oriental words and phrases which have put on an English mask. Such are maund, fool's rack, bearer, cot, boy, belly-band, Penang-lawyer, buckshaw, goddess (in the Malay region, representing Malay gādīs, 'a maiden'), compound, college-pheasant, chopper, summer-head,* eagle-wood, jackass-copal, bobbery, Upper Roger (used in a correspondence given by Dalrymple, for Yuva Raja, the 'Young King,' or Caesar, of Indo-Chinese monarchies), Isle-o'-Bats (for Allahābād or Ilahābāz as the natives often call it), hobson-jobson (see Preface), St. John's. The last proper name has at least three applications. There is "St. John's" in Guzerat, viz. Sanjān, the landing-place of the Parsee immigration in the 8th century; there is another "St. John's" which is a corruption of Shang-Chuang, the name of that island off the southern coast of China whence the pure and ardent spirit of Francis Xavier fled to a better world: there is the group of "St. John's Islands" near Singapore, the chief of which is properly Pulo-Sikajang.

Yet again we have hybrids and corruptions of English fully accepted and adopted as Hindustani by the natives with whom we have to do, such as simkin, port-shrāb, brandy-pānī, apīl, rasīd, tumlet (a tumbler), gilās ('glass,' for drinking vessels of sorts), rail-ghārī, lumber-dār, jail-khāna, bottle-khāna, buggy-khāna, 'et omne quod exit in' khāna, including gymkhāna, a very modern concoction (q.v.), and many more.

Taking our subject as a whole, however considerable the philological interest attaching to it, there is no disputing the truth of a remark with which Burnell's fragment of intended introduction concludes, and the application of which goes beyond the limit of those words which can be considered to have 'accrued as additions to the English language': "Considering the long intercourse with India, it is noteworthy that the additions which have thus accrued to the English language are, from the intellectual standpoint, of no intrinsic value. Nearly all the borrowed words refer to material facts, or to peculiar customs and stages of society, and, though a few of them furnish allusions to the penny-a-liner, they do not represent new ideas."

It is singular how often, in tracing to their origin words that come within the field of our research, we light upon an absolute dilemma, or bifurcation, i.e. on two or more sources of almost equal probability, and in themselves

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*  This is in the Bombay ordnance nomenclature for a large umbrella. It represents the Port. sombrero!


[page xxii]
entirely diverse. In such cases it may be that, though the use of the word originated from one of the sources, the existence of the other has invigorated that use, and contributed to its eventual diffusion.

An example of this is boy, in its application to a native servant. To this application have contributed both the old English use of boy (analogous to that of puer, garçon, Knabe) for a camp-servant, or for a slave, and the Hindī-Marāṭhī bhoi, the name of a caste which has furnished palanquin and umbrella-bearers to many generations of Europeans in India. The habitual use of the word by the Portuguese, for many years before any English influence had touched the shores of India (e.g. bóy de sombrero, bóy d'aguoa, bóy de palanquy), shows that the earliest source was the Indian one.

Cooly, in its application to a carrier of burdens, or performer of inferior labour, is another example. The most probable origin of this is from a nomen gentile, that of the Kolīs, a hill-people of Guzerat and the Western Ghats (compare the origin of slave). But the matter is perplexed by other facts which it is difficult to connect with this. Thus, in S. India, there is a Tamil word kūli, in common use, signifying 'daily hire or wages,' which H. H. Wilson regards as the true origin of the word which we call cooly. Again, both in Oriental and Osmali Turkish, kol is a word for a slave, and in the latter also there is kūleh, 'a male slave, a bondsman.' Khol is, in Tibetan also, a word for a slave or servant.

Tank, for a reservoir of water, we are apt to derive without hesitation, from stagnum, whence Sp. estanc, old Fr. estang, old Eng. and Lowland Scotch stank, Port. tanque, till we find that the word is regarded by the Portuguese themselves as Indian, and that there is excellent testimony to the existence of tānkā in Guzerat and Rajputana as an indigenous word, and with a plausible Sanskrit etymology.

Veranda has been confidently derived by some etymologists (among others by M. Defréméry, a distinguished scholar) from the Pers. barāmada, 'a projection,' a balcony; an etymology which is indeed hardly a possible one, but has been treated by Mr. Beames (who was evidently unacquainted with the facts that do make it hardly possible) with inappropriate derison, he giving as the unquestionable original a Sanskrit word baraṇḍa, 'a portico.' On this Burnell has observed that the word does not belong to the older Sanskrit, but is only found in comparatively modern works. Be that as it may, it need not be doubted that the word veranda, as used in England and France, was imported from India, i.e. from the usage of Europeans in India; but it is still more certain that either in the same sense, or in one closely allied, the word existed, quite independent of either Sanskrit or Persian, in Portuguese and Spanish, and the manner in which it occurs in the very earliest narrative of the Portuguese adventure to India (Roteiro do Viagem de Vasco da Gama, written by one of the expedition of 1497), confirmed by the Hispano-Arabic vocabulary of Pedro de Alcalà, printed in 1505, preclude the possibility of its having been adopted by the Portuguese from intercourse with India.

Mangrove, John Crawfurd tells us, has been adopted from the Malay manggi-manggi, applied to trees of the genus Rhizophora. But we learn from Oviedo, writing early in the sixteenth century, that the name mangle was applied by the natives of the Spanish Main to trees of the same, or a kindred genus, on the coast of S. America, which same mangle is undoubtedly the parent of the French manglier, and not improbably therefore of the English form mangrove.*

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*  Mr. Skeat's Etym. Dict. does not contain mangrove. [It will be found in his Concise Etymological Dict. ed. 1901.]


[page xxiii]

The words bearer, mate, cotwal, partake of this kind of dual or doubtful ancestry, as may be seen by reference to them in the Glossary.

Before concluding, a word should be said as to the orthography used in the Glossary.

My intention has been to give the headings of the articles under the most usual of the popular, or, if you will, vulgar quasi-English spellings, whilst the Oriental words, from which the headings are derived or corrupted, are set forth under precise transliteration, the system of which is given in a following "Nota Bene." When using the words and names in the course of discursive elucidation, I fear I have not been consistent in sticking either always to the popular or always to the scientific spelling, and I can the better understand why a German critic of a book of mine, once upon a time, remarked upon the etwas schwankende yulische Orthographie. Indeed it is difficult, it never will for me be possible, in a book for popular use, to adhere to one system in this matter without the assumption of an ill-fitting and repulsive pedantry. Even in regard to Indian proper names, in which I once advocated adhesion, with a small number of exceptions, to scientific precision in transliteration, I feel much more inclined than formerly to sympathise with my friends Sir William Muir and General Maclagan, who have always favoured a large and liberal recognition of popular spelling in such names. And when I see other good and able friends following the scientific Will-o'-the-Wisp into such bogs as the use in English composition of sipáhí and jangal, and verandah—nay, I have not only heard of bagí, but have recently seen it—instead of the good English words 'sepoy,' and 'jungle,' 'veranda,' and 'buggy,' my dread of pedantic usage becomes the greater.*

For the spelling of Mahratta, Mahratti, I suppose I must apologize (though something is to be said for it), Marāṭhī having established itself as orthodox.


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*  `Buggy' of course is not an Oriental word at all, except as adopted from us by Orientals. I call sepoy, jungle, and veranda, good English words; and so I regard them, just as good as alligator, or hurricane, or canoe, or Jerusalem artichoke, or cheroot. What would my friends think of spelling these in English books as alagarto, and huracan, and canoa, and girasole, and shuruṭṭu?


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