Words formed from place-names

Legend and Veendam

In the last two decades there has been an abounding interest in Hinglish, and with lexicographers bringing out revised editions every other year, the interest has been sustained in Indian and foreign publications. Addressing a meeting of the Indian community, Prince Charles affirmed that the influx of Indian words has enriched English.

One feature of word borrowing from India is the adoption of Indian proper names with associated meanings. In the last few days, I notice the widespread use of the word “juggernaut” in political and sports reporting. Juggernaut is the huge temple car drawn in a procession by devotees at an annual festival in Puri in the state of Orissa. Legend has it that devotees allowed themselves to be crushed under its wheels. In course of time, the word acquired metaphoric meanings. It stands for any force that demands blind devotion or unquestioning sacrifice. This meaning is dated 1854.
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