Hobson-Jobson

Being a Glossary of Anglo-Indian Colloquial Words and Phrases and of Kindred Terms Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive Part 1

Hobson-Jobson

This dictionary of Anglo-Indian terms gives the definition and etymology of over two thousand words in common use in colonial India in the late nineteenth century. First published in 1886, it was written by the Scottish orientalist Sir Henry Yule (1820–89) and Arthur C. Burnell (1840–82), an English scholar of Sanskrit and author of a Handbook of South Indian Palaeography. Whereas previous glossaries focused on technical terms used by the Indian administration, this work aims at dealing with words that recur in the daily English of India: ‘either as expressing ideas really not provided for’ by English, or wrongly ‘supposed by the speakers to express something not capable of just denotation by any English term’. Tracing the literary sources and Indian origins of words such as cooly or curry, but also – more surprisingly – tank or veranda, this dictionary is a fascinating resource for the modern reader.

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