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Interesting Etymologies, P. 3

by Tiffany

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Here's Part Three of Interesting Etymologies (word origins)!


Punch
The drink we like to call punch is derived from Parsi/Persian or Hindi. The original drink was named panj, which is Persian for "five". In Hindi, five is "paanch". This is because the punch was made from five ingredients: arrack (liquor), sugar, lemon, water, and tea or spices.

The name punch was popularized by the sailors of the British East India Company and brought to England. From there it was introduced into other European countries. British documents refer to punch as early as 1632.





Pundit
A pundit today is someone who offers mass-media analysis or commentary on a particular subject (usually politics or sports). These pundits are presumed to be knowledgeable on this subject; an alternate word for them would be experts. Pundit actually comes from the Hindi term pandit, which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word pandita, meaning "learned". It referred to someone who was a learned scholar in various subjects, conducted religious ceremonies and offered counsel to the king or mayor. Pundit was also the term for an official of the Supreme Court in Colonial India, who advised the English Judges on questions of Hindu law and culture.





Avatar
In Hindu philosophy, an avatar is the incarnation of a divine being or God into human form. The Sanskrit word avatara literally means "descent". It implies a descent onto Earth for special purposes. The term is used primarily in Hinduism for incarnations of the god Vishnu. Today, the word avatar is a popular term for a user's computer profile icon online forums and communities, or as 3-D model representations in games.


Filibuster
A filibuster is an attempt to stop legislation/bills in a government or other decision-making body, usually involving prolonged speechmaking. This attempt is made by extending debate of a proposal to delay its progress, or to completely prevent the vote from taking place.

The term "filibuster" was first used in 1851. It was derived from the Spanish filibustero meaning "pirate" or "freebooter". This term was derived from the French word flibustier, which came from the Dutch word vrijbuiter ("freebooter"). The term filibuster was applied at the time to American adventurers, mostly from Southern states, who wanted to overthrow the governments of Central American states - filibustering was seen as a tactic for pirating or hijacking debate for self-gain.




Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, truth, justice, beauty, validity, mind, and language. The word philosophy is derived from the Ancient Greek word philosophía. Philo means "love of" and sophia means "wisdom". So philosophia combines the two words to mean "love of knowledge" or "love of wisdom."




Inject and Syringe
When you think of the word inject, you probably think of a doctor inserting forcing a needle into someone's arm. From the Latin word in meaning "in" and iacere meaning "to throw", we get this term. The term syringe also has an interesting etymology. Syringe comes from the name of a nymph named Syrinx in ancient Greek mythology. Syrinx changed into a hollow water reed to escape the romantic advances of Pan. Pan then used the reed to build his musical pipe (the pan pipes!).


Image Credits: BorgQueen, WM Carey, Webwhispers, Wikipedia, Jean Francois de Troy, Liquor Snob

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3 Comments
    genesismeet
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    genesismeetTue, 28 Jul 2009 20:26:35 -0000

    gr8 i knew sum of them, rest of them were an eye opener

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    glib
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    Anand AskarSun, 21 Sep 2008 16:32:54 -0000

    very good and knowlageble. Need more words.

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    lucyinthesky
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    TiffanyMon, 22 Sep 2008 22:26:38 -0000

    Thanks! This is only part three of my series of lessons titled Interesting Etymologies. You can check out what I have so far here:

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3 (the page you're on now)
    Part 4
    Part 5

    I'll try to come up with more in the upcoming weeks. :)

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    rajat_005
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    rajat_005Sun, 21 Sep 2008 12:02:43 -0000

    really breathstaking.. good to know the origin of these commomnly used fields.

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Last Updated At Dec 13, 2012
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