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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful reference and browse, 14 May 2014
This review is from: Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive (Hardcover)
In 1872 two men began work on a lexicon of words of Asian origin used by the British in India. Since its publication the 1,000-page dictionary has never been out of print. What accounts for its enduring appeal?
Hobson-Jobson is the dictionary's short, and mysterious title. The subtitle reveals more: "A glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms etymological, historical, geographical and discursive. By Colonel Henry Yule and AC Burnell." But even the word "discursive" doesn't quite prepare the reader for what is to come.
"It's a madly unruly and idiosyncratic work," says poet Daljit Nagra. "Not so much an orderly dictionary as a passionate memoir of colonial India. Rather like an eccentric Englishman in glossary form."
30 words from India
• B - bandana, bangle, bazaar, bungalow
• C - catamaran, char, cheroot, chintz, chit, chokey, chutney, cummerbund, curry
• D - dinghy, dungarees
• G - guru, gymkhana
• H - hullabaloo
• J - jodhpur, juggernaut, jute
• K - khaki, kedgeree
• L - loot
• P - pariah, pundit, purdah, pyjamas
• S - shampoo
• V - veranda
Take the entry for the Indian word dam. The dictionary defines it as: "Originally an actual copper coin. Damri is a common enough expression for the infinitesimal in coin, and one has often heard a Briton in India say: 'No, I won't give a dumree!' with but a vague notion what a damri meant."
That is the etymology of dam. But Yule and Burnell have more to say. "And this leads to the suggestion that a like expression, often heard from coarse talkers in England as well as in India, originated in the latter country, and that whatever profanity there may be in the animus, there is none in the etymology, when such an one blurts out 'I don't care a dam!' in other words, 'I don't care a brass farthing!'"
An excellent quality hardback edition.
Highly recommended!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Both amusing and educational, 22 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive (Hardcover)
Bought as a prezzie for my wife who loves language & its development. It's surprised and amused her and is perfect for picking at for a few minutes. But not the sort of book to spend a few hours with!
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