Printable Version
Pronunciation: -gree, pê-gê-ree Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Turbans worn in India and surrounding regions, or the drill (cloth) they are made from. 2. A thin scarf wound around a sun-helmet and falling down the back to shade the neck, thus preventing the wearer from becoming a redneck.

Notes: English speakers are far from a decision as to how to spell today's Good Word. There is a two-syllable version, puggree, and a three-syllable version, puggaree. We even have our choice of how many Gs to use. Pugree and pugaree are still found in many dictionaries. But today's word may also be used as a verb meaning to coil up like a puggree, as a puggreed towel or garden hose.

In Play: Puggree or puggaree?Moments do present themselves when today's word might be used metaphorically as more exotic substitute for turban: "She came to the door directly from the shower with a towel puggree atop her head." But the verbal usage of today's word is probably more widely applicable: "The puggreed cobra suggested that she might have chosen the wrong path for her morning constitutional."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a gift of Hindi. Pagri "turban" in that language devolved from Sanskrit parikarah "girdle, belt", a noun from the verb parikaroti "surrounds". This verb is based on pari "around" + karoti "does, makes". Karoti has a noun, karma "deed". Pari is related to Latin per "to, for" and Greek peri "around", as in the Greek borrowing perimeter. The English preposition for comes from the same source. Pairi also appears in an ancestor of paradise from Avesta pairidaeza "enclosure, park", comprising pairi "around" and daezo "wall". See our Good Word paradise for the semantic trip from "park" to "paradise". (Our thanks to Rehana Husain of India for all the good karma brought with this fascinating Hindi contribution to the English lexical stock.)

Dr. Goodword,

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