India as a country has contributed significantly to the world in every possible field – Science, Literature, Engineering, and what not- but a little known contribution of India to the world is Language! Yes, several words to the present day English language. Some of these words are so common that most of us use them rather often, and others, you will not believe even originated in India! So here’s our list of Top Ten:
Not the action of punching, but the extremely popular fruit drink ‘Punch’ is assumed to have originated from the Sanskrit word ‘Paanch’ meaning the numeral five. Obviously, Punch has five ingredients in it – Soda, sugar, lemon, water and spices.
The name ‘Cheetah’ was probably taken from the Sanskrit word – ‘Chitra’ meaning uniquely marked. Every Cheetah is uniquely marked, with a special lustrous coat that lends the animal its breathtaking beauty.
The long, narrow and famous kind of boat owes the origin of its name to the Tamil word ‘Kattumaram’ which also means a boat made of bark. For centuries fishermen have sailed on this old-styled ‘Kattumaram’ on the ocean and continue to do so, to this day.
This triangular or rectangular scarf gained popularity across the globe as a fashion statement in the 90s. Little does the world know that Bandana takes its name from the Hindi word “Bandhna” which means “to tie”. The word could also have originated from the Tamil word ‘bandham’ meaning ‘a bond’.
Come summer and the whole world looks forward to the joy of feasting on mangoes, a tropical fruit, especially popular in India. India is also home to the most number of mango varieties in the world. It shouldn’t be surprising that mangoes also got their name from the Tamil word “maangai”, which refers to raw mangoes.
Surely all Indians know Khakhi is an Indian word, which means the color of dust, but this color has become so popular in the world that international brands use it as a recognized color for clothing and otherwise.
This popular substitute for sugar gets its name from the derivation of a Tamil word “Sakkarai” which means sugar. Incidentally, Sugar itself originates from the Hindi word for it, “Shakkar”.
Money, money, money. Be it dollars or pounds or the humble Japanese yen, at the end of the day it’s all cash, and cash owes the origin of its name to the Tamil word “kaasu” or coins. The French disagree though, saying that cash is derived from the French word “caisse”.
From the Sanskrit word “Jagannath” of the Jagannath temple in Puri, Orissa, legend has it that foreigners who visited Puri saw the immensely heavy chariots being pulled during the Rath Yatra festival and went back with exaggerated stories of people committing suicide under the wheels of the chariot –making it a metaphor for an immense and unstoppable force.
According to famous Herpetologist, Frank Wall, the biggest snake in the world, the ‘Anaconda’ also had its name originate from India. Anaconda is from Tamil, from the words ‘Aanai Kondran’ meaning “elephant killer”.