Literally, अग्नि = अंग् + नि, नलोपश्च। And the root verb अंग् means "to revolve". The meaning of the suffix नि , I couldn't find anywhere, and then suddenly we start associating अग्नि with the sacrificial fire. Is it somewhat biased by tradition/convention? Maybe the meaning of the suffix has to do something here. Otherwise at certain instances in the Vedas, the meaning of verse gets too awful ( like in Rv. 2|1|1, Vaj. 11|27, त्वमग्ने ... द्भ्यः ... जायसे शुचिः। Agni being born of water - somewhat contradictory.)

Pardon me, but what I am actually asking is the "how-to" of assigning meanings to sounds/dhatus/pratyayas in sanskrit, which was perhaps known to the niruktakars at Yask's time, but now is (maybe, maybe not) lost.

  • 1
    Hope it doesn't get flagged for Sanskrit question.
    – sbharti
    Aug 22, 2021 at 17:30

1 Answer 1


Sanskrit words have a lot of meanings. For example asura means both good and bad. The etymology of agni is given in Nirukta 7:14.

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He indeed takes the letter a from root I (to go), the letter g from akj (to shine), or dah (to burn) with the root no as the last member.

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    Could you pls verbatim write it out? Image is not clear enough to read. Thank you.
    – sbharti
    Aug 23, 2021 at 18:34

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