• Sanskrit •
sæn-skrit • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, proper
Meaning: The oldest preserved Indo-European language with the oldest grammar of any IE language. It is the language of the Vedic scriptures and epic poems. Panini wrote the first IE grammar of Sanskrit in the 4th century.
Notes: Sanskrit was spoken in India from roughly 1200 to 400 BC and, like Latin, continues to be used as a language of literature and scholarship. Modern Indian languages like Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, and Punjabi evolved from Sanskrit just as French, Spanish, Italian, and Romanian evolved from Latin. The adjective is Sanskritic. and a Sanskritist is someone who studies or is well-versed in the language.
In Play: Yoga is one of the English words that come from Sanskrit, where it means "union, yoking". Pundit, avatar, karma, swastika, dharma are some others that have been Good Words in the past. They, like the languages mentioned above, all derived from Prakrit, a middle version of spoken Sanskrit, that functioned much like Vulgar Latin.
Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from a Latinized version of Sanskrit samskrta "put together, well-formed, perfected", composed of sam "together" + krta- "to make, do, perform". Sam derives from PIE sem-/som- "(together) with, as one", source also of English same, Greek homos "same", Russian sam- "self" Krta- was the Sanskrit version of PIE kwer- "to make, form", the past participle stem of karoti "makes", which also went into the making of karma. We see the results of the same PIE word in Irish crúiteoir and cruthaitheoir "creator", and Latin creare "to make, create". (A double debt of gratitude is owed Jeremy Busch, for serving gratis as a Good Word editor and for suggesting we explore today's oft-cited Good Word.)
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