"A glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological, historical, geographical and discursive."
Hobson-Jobson is a unique work of maverick scholarship. Compiled in 1886 by two India enthusiasts, it documents the words and phrases that entered English from Arabic, Persian, Indian, and Chinese sources - and vice versa. Described by Salman Rushdie as "the legendary dictionary of British India" it shows how words of Indian origin were absorbed into the English language and records not only the vocabulary but the culture of the Raj. Illustrative quotations from a wide range of travel texts, histories, memoirs, and novels create a canon of English writing about India. The definitions frequently slip into anecdote, reminiscence, and digression, and they offer intriguing insights into Victorian attitudes to India and its people and customs.
With its delight in language, etymology, and puns, Hobson-Jobson has fascinated generations of writers from Rudyard Kipling to Tom Stoppard and Amitav Ghosh. This selected edition retains the range and idiosyncrasy of the original, and includes fascinating information on the glossary's creation and its significance for the English language.
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