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A.Word.A.Daywith Anu Garg
Over the history of humanity, speakers of one language have often run into speakers of another. Sometimes they’ve done so journeying in search of the juiciest mangoes or the most fragrant cardamoms. Or gold.
Other times, their quests have been driven by a thirst for knowledge in fields like mathematics, astronomy, or philosophy. They’ve ventured to hidden corners of the earth and sought the timeless wisdom whispered by the ages.
They have also made business trips for expanding their property portfolios by adding countries wholesale. Call them real estate enthusiasts or Alexander the Great. Or war criminals.
Whatever the reason, when two languages meet, they often trade words. With time some of these words become adopted and naturalized, blending seamlessly into the adopting language. As the years pass, these words may then be passed down to another language, and then another, in a fascinating linguistic relay.
I refer to these as well-traveled words -- words that have journeyed from one language to another, eventually gracing the lexicon of the English language. Today’s word, for example, has reached us via four different linguistic ancestors.
This week, we’ll delve into such well-traveled words.
angary or angaria
noun: The right of a warring nation to seize the property, for example, ships, of a neutral country, provided compensation is paid.
From French angarie (imposition), from Latin angaria (forced service), from Greek angareia (impressment for public service), from Persian hamkara (herald). Earliest documented use: 1880.
“I had some substantive work -- a memorandum on the right of angary; the US early in 1941 impounded and took over numerous ships in American ports.”
Leonard C. Meeker; Experiences; Xlibris; 2007.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences. -Robert Louis Stevenson, novelist, essayist, and poet (13 Nov 1850-1894)