Food for Thought

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Snell, Rupert

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Hindi-Urdu Flagship




Like most languages, Hindi has a wide range of expressions based on food and cooking. This short (and infinitely extendable) glossary is a list of words which generate such idioms, or which have interesting etymologies (given in square brackets at the end of each entry). Sanskrit (‘Skt’) etymologies are mostly from R. L. Turner, A Comparative Dictionary of the Indo-Aryan Languages (London 1966), the essential reference for informatiion about word origins. An asterisk indicates a hypothetical form — a Sanskrit etymon reconstructed from the evidence of presumed derivatives in New Indo-Aryan languages. Further idioms will be found in Bholanath Tiwari, Hindi muhavara kos, 3rd edn (Allahabad 1977); many Anglo-Indian usages are discussed in Henry Yule and A.C. Burnell, Hobson-Jobson, 2nd edn (London 1985) and Ivor Lewis, Sahibs, nabobs and boxwallahs: a dictionary of the words of Anglo-India (Bombay 1991). Both CDIAL (Turner) and Hobson-Jobson, together with many other invaluable dictionaries, are available online at

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