Questions tagged [etymology]

Questions regarding the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history.

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Which is correct - Shantanu or Shaantanu?

In the Mahabharata book by Gorakhpur press, the name is given as Shaantanu (शान्तनुः), but I've also heard his name as Shantanu (शन्तनुः). Is there a correct version? For the name शन्तनुः, the ...
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What is the meaning of the word Hastinapur?

The city Hastinapur from the Mahabharata is where the Kauravas reside. What is the meaning for this word? Is there any source for it?
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What is the meaning of Sanatan?

The real name of Hinduism is Sanatan Dharma. I want to know what is the meaning of the word - Sanatan ? Some people say Sanatan means -Eternal Some people say Sanatan means - Old. What is the real ...
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What is the etymology of the name Vidura?

What is the etymology of the name Vidura? Is there a verse that in the Mahabharata that indicates the meaning of his name and how it arose?
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What is the etymology (nirukta or nispatti) of Visha in Rig Veda?

What is the etymology (nirukta or nispatti) of Visha in Rig Veda? What is the Mukhya Artha and what are the Amukhya arthas during in Vedic Sanskrit? Some people were claiming that Rig Veda 10.136.7 ...
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What is the source/book to learn origin/etymology of sanskrit and Vedic-Sanskrit words?

As the sanskrit language is created by god and every sanskrit word incorporates a huge amount of Hindu philosophy in it. So, I want to know the book or source where I can know about origin or ...
river's user avatar
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What is the meaning of the word 'Gītā (गीता)'?

Well, it's a no-brainer that etymologically, the word 'gītā' literally means 'that which is sung or chanted'. However, by that logic even Rāmacaritamānasa is sung or chanted, or even a daily ārtī (आरती...
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What is the meaning of Hrishikesha?

All I know is that Krishna or Arjuna is called Hrishikesha. What is the meaning of Hrishikesha?
Fun life's user avatar
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What is the meaning of Uma?

Consort of Lord Shiva is mostly known by her name 'Parvati'. But in Vedas, Upanishads, and Puranas we find the name of 'Uma' being used. Right from the 5th Anuvaka of Sri Rudram which starts with 'नमः ...
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What is the meaning of Lakshmi?

Each word in Sanskrit can be interpreted in myriad ways, and thus a single word can have several different and unrelated meanings. A famous example of such "multiplicity" would be the word, &...
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Differences between Siddha, a Sannyasi, a Bhakta and Rishis?

What is briefly the main difference between a Siddha, a Sannyasi, a Bhakta and a Rishi?
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Etymology of the word Brahmā (ब्रह्मा)

Brahmā (ब्रह्मा) who is the creator aspect of the Trimurti God, while Vishnu (विष्णु) and Shiva (शिव ) being the Preserver and the Destroyer aspects. The most frequently used etymological meaning for ...
Vivikta's user avatar
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What is the etymology of the term Veda?

There are revelation (such as hymns, stotras, etc.) even in the scriptures other than Vedas yet they ain't part of Vedas. It makes me wonder What is its etymology or definition of Veda? What is a ...
ㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤ's user avatar
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Etymology of “priyā”?

What is the etymological meaning of Sanskrit term Priyā ? where can we find its usage examples in the scriptures?
Lucky Pashu's user avatar
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What is the authentic Nishpatthi (Etymology) of Samadhi?

According to Wikipedia, Various interpretations for the term's etymology are possible: sam, "together"; a, "toward"; stem of dadhati, "puts, places": "a putting or ...
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What does the term Āstika-Nāstika mean- as such - without any connection with one particular faith?

There are different shades of interpretation of the terms Āstika-Nāstika. Most of the answers on this forum relate to the interpretations that are propounded by some vested groups to denigrate other ...
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What are the etymologies for the word Rudra?

What are the etymologies for the word Rudra? There is a story in the Vedas where Rudra was born crying and then Brahma, his father, said "Don't cry", (mA ruda), so then he got the name "Rudra", or ...
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What is the meaning of mahavakya and how was/is it used?

What is the meaning of mahavakya? What was/is it used for, I mean what is its importance? What does mahavakya convey? This is not specifically with respect to Advaita Vedanta, but in general whichever ...
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What's the significance of the name Panchashikha?

Panchashikha is a character who appears in the Mahabharata. I found the name interesting. A shikha is the tuft of hair that remains after an upanayana ceremony. Why would someone be named Panchashikha ...
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Are some of the words from Vedas still untranslatable?

This question quotes the Sanskrit grammarian Yāska as saying he didn't know the meaning of some 400 words of the Vedas. Is this still the case with modern translations of Vedas?
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5 votes
1 answer
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Which is the earliest scripture to use the word "varna" to denote caste?

The Rig Vedic Purusha Sukta mentions Rajanya, Brahmin, Vaishya and Sudra, but doesn't call them Varnas. Which scripture first uses the word varna for the classification-scheme?
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Which are those 400 words of Veda not known or understood to even Yaska?

Nirukta is one of six Vedangas which are very essential to completely understanding Vedas. Nirukta is the study of the origin of Sanskrit words i.e etymology which is very useful for understanding and ...
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Why does chandogya upanishad use kannada-telugu words?

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). ...
Anisha's user avatar
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What is the source of "Vriyate iti Varnaha?"

The author of the blog post What's your Varna quotient? uses a certain definition of varṇa: The generic definition of the term 'Varna' comes from 'Vriyate Iti Varnaha' implying that one can choose ...
Say No To Censorship's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
329 views

What is the etymology reason for the swarupa order in the construction of the word "Sat-chit-ananda"?

Why are the swarupas of the word Satcitananda constructed in this way in relationship wit Brahman and not Ananda-chit-sat? Are the order of these swarupas like stepping stones of realization?
Frank Hestermann's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
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What is Ahalyā's birth name?

Is 'Ahalyā' the real name of Gautama's wife or is it an acquired name? At least, the Monier-Williams dictionary seems to think it's an acquired one. The word is listed as a + halyā: अ-हल्या (A-...
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What is the meaning of "Aum"? [duplicate]

I have heard that many saints saying aum when they are in meditation. Not only saints, but many mantras like: aum namah shivaya; aum sreekrishnaya namah have "aum" present in it. Questions: ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Are Shiva & Vishnu etymologically connected?

It has always struck me as interesting, or perhaps odd, that the root phonemes of Shiva, [sh]+[v], are the reverse of the root phonemes of Vishnu, [v]+[sh]. Is there any accounting for this?
Rubellite Yakṣī's user avatar
13 votes
4 answers
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What is the meaning of Narayana?

So far I have been breaking the word into nara (नर) + Ayana (आयन) = home of nara (jiva). But lately I have realized I couldn't break it this way because to make it nArAyaNa (नारायण), nAra (नार) is ...
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15 votes
3 answers
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What is the meaning of Ramayana?

Ramayana is a sacred epic about the life of Lord Rama. Can anyone explain the meaning/etymology of the word "Ramayana?"
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14 votes
6 answers
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Who is considered Hindu?

Keeping geographical location aside, who is considered to be a Hindu? (i.e. not belonging to other religions) Should that person accept authority of someone (Vedas, some God, philosophy etc.)?
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Do scriptures define what a "sect" (सम्प्रदाय ) is?

I guess a sect (सम्प्रदाय ) is one that only subscribes to a subset of Hindu beliefs and/or worships only a subset of Hindu gods. Is there anything in scriptures about this? What is the etymology of ...
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1 vote
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Etymology of Sringa

Sringa is an Ancient Indian musical instrument. In an answer to my previous question, it was pointed out that Mahabharat contains a reference to a ruler of the kingdom of Stri Rajya, also known as ...
MathGod's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
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What is meaning of the word Mimamsa etymologically?

I am aware that Mimamsa is about philosophy and means critical reflection.But I am interested in the actual etymology of the word so please stick to that point.
Sona Parivraj's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
648 views

What are the various etymological derivations for the word "Upanishad"?

One I have found myself from a commentary on one Upanishad. It says the word is derived like this: Upa (meaning near)+ Nishanna (specially present). So, "near which, sons, animals-like fruits of ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Are Gandharvs related to Gandhar?

Gandharvas are a class of male nature spirits, having superb musical skills and are guardians of Soma. Gandhar was an ancient kingdom located in modern day Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is mentioned, ...
MathGod's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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Is Sage Panini related to Panis?

Sage Panini was a great grammarian of Ancient India. There is a word mentioned in Rig-Veda, Pani, which means different things according to the context. One of the meanings (albeit in later sources) ...
MathGod's user avatar
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7 votes
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Was Laxman Kumara named after Lakshmana?

Laxman Kumara was the only son1 of Duryodhana and Bhanumati. He battled in the Mahabharata war and did perform many acts of bravery, like saving King Bahlika, killing Shikandi's son, etc. He was later ...
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3 votes
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Why is the Sanctum Sanctorum called Garbha Griha?

The place where the deity in a temple is placed (prathishtana) is in english called Sanctum Sanctorum. We refer to it as Garbha Griha. The simple sanskrit meaning of this term is 'Home of the Womb' (...
Suresh Ramaswamy's user avatar
13 votes
4 answers
1k views

What is the meaning of Saraswati?

Devi Saraswati is the Goddess of knowledge, learning and creativity. But what is the etymological meaning of the name Saraswati? How does Nirukta explain the name Saraswati? I guess it's related to '...
Tezz's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
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What is Fullness and Emptyness (void) according to the Vedas?

I was reading a post containing the following lines taken from Veda, where I could not understand. That is Fullness, this is Fullness; from Fullness comes Fullness. When Fullness is taken from ...
Kailash Chandra Polai's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
4k views

What is the meaning/definition of the word Shudra?

I would like to know the meaning/definition of the word Shudra? Some 3-4 years back, in a commentary of an Upanishad I found someone explaining the word Shudra to mean the one who is always in grief (...
ㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤ's user avatar
15 votes
5 answers
4k views

What is the meaning of Brahman & Vasudeva?

As there is definite meaning of the names such as Lord Shiva, Indra, Vishnu etc. I want the meaning of Brahman Vasudeva By the word Brahman, I mean with ultimate reality. (Though personally, I ...
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16 votes
5 answers
5k views

What does the word 'Asura' mean in the Vedas?

The Danavas and Daityas are referred to as Asuras in the Puranas but in The Vedas many Devas are also referred as Asuras. May the golden-handed, life-bestowing, well-guiding, exhilarating and ...
Karmanya Nanda's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
315 views

What is the scriptural definition of scripture (shAshtra)?

Since childhood I am a big fan of SwAmi VivekAnanda and I used to read (and still do) a lot of books written by him. Now, when I have grown up, I have the understanding that although they are ...
Rickross's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
574 views

What are the etymologies and literal meanings of the words (kṣatriya, śūdra, etc.) used to indicate one's varṇa?

For brāhmaṇa, there is already a question here: What is the etymology of brahman/brahmin? For śūdra, Monier Williams says "of doubtful derivation". Apte says: शूद्रः [शुच्-रक् पृषो˚ चस्य दः दी...
Say No To Censorship's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
686 views

Is the etymology of the name Yudhishthira correct?

As we know, the eldest of the Pandavas is Yudhishthira (IAST : Yudhiṣṭhira and Devanagari: युधिष्ठिर). It is said that he got his name due to his steadiness in war. This is also a famous one. From ...
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3 votes
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What is the etymology of the word Satagopuram

I would like to know the etymology of the word 'sata-gopuram' (the 'chadari' placed on the head) with respect to the prefix 'sata' (or 'chada')
user95307's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
4k views

What is the meaning of Indra?

Like there is a meaning of the word Shiva which is explained here, what is the meaning of Indra?
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8 votes
2 answers
3k views

Sanskrit and Sounds of Lord Shiva

I recently heard in "Veda parichaya" in a local channel that the sounds of the alphabet(Sanskrit) originated from Lord Shiva’s ‘damru’. Can anyone elaborate on these sounds and their relation to ...
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