We all know Clark Gable’s parting line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” but it should be written, “I don’t give a dam,” because the phrase refers to a damri, a tiny Indian copper coin of negligible value. “I don’t give a damn” doesn’t make sense. Nobody’s claiming to be the Almighty.
One of the first things I do each morning is to check the news on the BBC website. Since they are five hours ahead of us, no matter how early I get up I get all of the news that occurred during the night and often find short gems like this one.
The same article lists these common words in English that originated in India. (I deleted some that are unknown in the U.S., and some that are obviously Indian, such as “sari,” and “yoga.”)
A – atoll, avatar
B – bandana, bangle, bazaar, bungalow
C – cashmere, catamaran, char, cheetah, chintz, chit, , chutney, cot, cummerbund
D – dinghy, dungarees
H – hullabaloo
J – jodhpur, jungle, juggernaut, jute
K – khaki
L – loot
P – pariah, polo, pundit, pajamas
S – shampoo, shawl, swastika
T – teak, thug, toddy, typhoon
V – veranda