English is one of the most widely spoken languages of the world. It is also has a rich vocabulary with Oxford dictionary listing more than 600,000 words. The reason behind the extensive vocabulary is very simple. English has evolved by incorporating words from various languages from all over the world. Many Indian words have made it to the regular English vocabulary. Most of them were added during the British imperialistic rule over India from spanning from 16th to 20th century. More than five hundred words of Indian origin were absorbed into English during that period and it has grown ever since. Currently the Oxford English Dictionary lists over 700 words of Indian origin.
Most of the Indian words that were incorporated into English had no equivalent in English for example yoga, swastika, khaki, sari, and sati. However unlike French and Latin words, Indian words were rarely substituted to English words. Some words, which already had meanings, were borrowed because they sounded different and trendy like pundit, guru, dharma etc.
The earliest terms borrowed by the British were for fabrics. The cloth from Calicut came to be known as Calico. Chint, another word for Calico cloth, which was spraying painted, came from Hindi word, Cheent meaning spray or sprinkle. Dungari, a Hindi word for course fabric is a likely origin for Dungarees or garments stitched using tough cloth.
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