In the Chandogya Upanishad, the word “मटची” “maTacI” is used to describe famine in the Kuru kingdom.

“मटचीहतेषु कुरुष्वाटिक्या सह जायया उषस्तिर्ह चाक्रायण इभ्यग्रामे प्रद्राणक उवास” (1.10.1).

Apparently according to different internet forums this word was adopted from kannada or telugu, it means locusts or hailstones.

Does this word has any parallel in any sanskrit dictionaries, etymologies or words?

  • 2
    @Aks no many of these words like danda actually have sanskrit roots(given in nirkuta) Its not substratum but vedic language is eternal so either sanskrit loaned these to other languages or these words were used for right meter pronunciation.
    – Anisha
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 21:13
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    If we are working on axiom that vedic sanskrit is eternal then I don't understand the title of question. If vedic sanskrit is eternal then wouldn't that make those words sanskrit words which Kannada/Telugu uses instead of vice-versa which current title suggests? May be you should change title to ask if this particular word मटची is found somewhere else in vedas or in dictionaries, etymologies etc. That would be more precise to what you are actually looking for. Btw I didn't downvote. I find this question interesting, just feel title is confusing.
    – Aks
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 11:53
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    @Dr.VineetAggarwal here is an equally interesting question, apparently student of vyasa, jaimini of purva mimansa sutras acknowledges that words of different languages are indeed used in vedas. Most likely for rhyming and meter pronunciation, sometime its hard to find rhyming word from native and individual vocabulary hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/15121/…
    – Anisha
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 12:08
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    @TheCrimsonUniverse thats a tamil nationalistic conspiracy theory.
    – Anisha
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 16:17
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    My mother tongue is Telugu and i never heard MaTachI being used for hail storm. We use "vaDagaLLa vAna". i have even searched in Kannada (as i can read script of Kannada) and also found no results for maTachI. Even if Telugu-Kannada have that word, it must have come from Sanskrit. All Indian languages have many Sanskrit words as Sanskrit was once lingua franca of whole Ancient India.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Sep 23, 2018 at 5:39

4 Answers 4


According to Swami Gambhirananda the following is the translation of Chandogya Upanishad 1.10.1 (translated his Bengali translation into English):

When all the crops of the country of the Kurus got destroyed by hail storms (or by the fire of lightnings), Ushashti Chakrayana, along with his minor wife, in a distressed condition, took shelter in a village of the Mahouts (the people who ride on elephants).

The word which is in focus here is translated thus:

matachihateshu = when destroyed by hail storms/stones or by Vajragni (the fire of the lightnings).

The Sanskrit dictionary also translates the word "Matachi" in the same way (hail, struck by hail).

So, I am not sure what is the issue here. Matachi is of course a Sanskrit word, now if it also happens to be a Telugu word then what's the problem?

For example, I have been told by The Destroyer (whose mother tongue is Telugu) that there are some words in Telugu which are also Sanskrit words.


There is a commentary (source) based on Shankara’s bhasya that parallels the word ‘maṭacī’ in the Sabdakalpadruma (dictionary of sanskrit words compiled in the 19th century):

According to Śaṅkara, the word maṭacī means ‘fire from thunder.’ According to the Śabdakalpadruma, it refers to a species of small red birds, and according to Ānandagiri it means ‘locusts.’ Another meaning is ‘hail.’

You can find the etymology from the relevant passage in the Sabdakalpadruma, from archive.org.


According to this question:

"In Adhyaya 1 Pada 3 of Jaimini's Purva Mimamsa Sutras, the defining text of the Purva Mimamsa school, Jaimini discusses how to determine the meaning of a word occurring in the Vedas. He argues that by default one should rely on the meaning of the word in the language of the Aryas, i.e. Sanskrit. But if a given word in the Vedas has no meaning in Sanskrit, then he says that one should rely on the meaning of the word in the languages of Mlecchas or foreigners. Here's what this excerpt from Shabara's commentary on the Purva Mimamsa Sutras says:"

It has been established that that meaning is to be regarded as more authoritative which is accepted by persons who take their stand upon the scriptures. Now in the Veda, we meet with certain words which are not used by the Aryas (who are the people that take their stand on the scriptures) in any sense at all, but are in use among Mlechchhas; such are the words "pika", "nema", "sata", "tamarasa" and such others. In regard to these, there arises the question - Are we to deduce their meaning from their etymology, commentaries and roots with the help of lexicons and grammar? Or should we accept that as their meaning in which sense they are used by the Mlechchhas? ...

The meaning that is imparted to a word even by uncultured people, -even though not known to the cultured - would be comprehended, - and it would not be right to reject what has been comprehended and which is not incompatible with any authority.... From all this we conclude that (according to the usage of the Mlechchhas), the word "pika" should be taken in the sense of the cuckoo,- the word "nema" in the sense of half - the word "tamarasa" in the sense of lotus, - the word "sata" in the sense of “wooden vessel, round in shape and with hundred-holes”.

But I think this is incorrect, because by definition all words found in the Vedas are Sanskrit words. So, this implies that those words you think are Telugu/Kannada words are actually Sanskrit words that Telugu and Kannada borrowed from Sanskrit as loan words.


The Kannada word Midachi means grasshopper. Midachi actually means folding and unfolding in quick action (like triggering). As grasshopper mimics this action, so it gets the name. Chen is Kannada word for Good or Round (ChanDa), the sanskrit word for moon is Soma. Sanskrit adds Indra to nouns to glorifies them like Maha-Indra = Mahendra, Raja-Indra = Rajendra, so Chen-Indra = Chandra

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