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JUGGERNAUT

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JUGGERNAUT

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:03 am

• juggernaut •


Pronunciation: jê-gêr-nawt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. An enormous, merciless force that cannot be stopped, an overwhelming, advancing force that crushes everything in it path. 2. Something that demands blind devotion or merciless sacrifice. 3. A title for the Hindu deity Krishna. 4. (UK) A large lorry (truck).

Notes: We are presented with so few situations that call for an adjective from this word that we haven't decided on one. Juggernautish has been suggested in the past, as has juggernautal. I would propose juggernautical as well ;-). This word may be used unadorned by suffixation as a verb: "I've been juggernauted by the proponents of clean air."

In Play: We use today's Good Word generally in the sense of a movement that is unstoppable: "The Chinese economic juggernaut seems to have paused to catch its breath." This word has also picked up the sense of something that demands blind devotion: "I find it puzzling that so many Republicans have signed the Grover Norquist juggernaut to never raise taxes." Finally, in Britain it may refer to a very large truck: "Carmen Ghia's car was pretty much destroyed by the juggernaut that ran into it."

Word History: Todays' word is taken from Hindi jagannath "lord of the world", a title given to Krishna, eighth avatar (descendant) of the Hindu god Vishnu. It was also the name of a huge wagon carrying a statue of Krishna during the celebration of him. The first Englishman who witnessed this celebration reported that devotees threw themselves beneath the wheels of this wagon as sacrifices to the deity. Later visitors opined that they may have simply been pushed under by the press of the crowd. The original word was made up of Sanskrit jagat "world" + natha-s "lord, master", from nathate "he helps, protects". (We thank Mustapha Gahten for his suggestion of today's unstoppable Good Word.)
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Re: JUGGERNAUT

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:55 am

I had a professional associate from India whose first name was Jagannath. I asked him if he didn't think the name was a little pretentious, and he reminded me that is some cultures people name their little boys Jesús. Touché.
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Re: JUGGERNAUT

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:22 am

When I saw the word, my first thought was the German army of WWII. The merciless initial thrust into Poland and the rest of Europe was unstoppable. You can hardly read a history of the period without finding the word juggernaut. I was surprised it was an Indian word, as I had always thought the other uses came metaphorically from 1939.
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Re: JUGGERNAUT

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:37 pm

I am reminded of the recent advertisements and campaign
spiels for the presidential election.
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Re: JUGGERNAUT

Postby Slava » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:58 pm

Here's a link to a BBC piece on words from India:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18796493

I think you'll enjoy it.

And, here is another one on English in India.
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Re: JUGGERNAUT

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:40 am

I believe we have discussed chili before. Perhaps the referenced BBC News magazine has been cited before on this august forum. The BBC News magazine is wrong about Chili. Chili is not an Anglo-Indian word from India. I like words in English that have come from India, but this is not one of them. Neither does it come from the country Chile in South America. As plain as plain can be, Webster says: chili is from Spanish chile, from Nahuatl chīlli. First Known Use: 1604. I find the occurrence of Nahuatl words in Mexican Spanish to be quite interesting. Mexican Spanish and TexMex Spanish are full of Amerind words. Do you know that Spanish is not spoken at all by millions of Mexicans. They speak totally Amerind languages. I once worked on a plan to teach Spanish as a Second Language to the Amerinds in Mexico. Since we were a Church, and the Mexican government is skittish about churches, including Catholic, we did not make much progress.
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Re: JUGGERNAUT

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:35 pm

Further evidence of your post, Philip, in today's
Merriam Webster word of the day:


http://www.drhinternet.net/mw/display.p ... 023&S=6108

Scroll down to the "Did You Know" section.
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