All languages, no matter how "pure," are full of words that migrated from other languages.
Anyone who's looked at a dictionary for more than five minutes knows that English words come from many sources, such as Latin, Greek, French, German and, of course, Scandinavian languages, not to mention those often-ignored Celtic traces. But many colloquial words also come from the other side of the globe.
Countries that were once British colonies rubbed off on their colonizer in all sorts of ways. At least 650 words in the Oxford English Dictionary are derived from languages spoken in India and Pakistan, and most of these words also exist in American English. The word "thug," which has made its way into mainstream American English, was originally a Hindi word that was picked up by the British and then brought to America decades later. Here are seven surprising English words that came from Indian languages:
Tabish Khair is the author of the novel The Thing About Thugs [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24.00], which follows a spectacular Indian "thug" and his misadventures in Victorian London.
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