Save

The Semantics of Sharpness and the Prohibition of the Pungent

Garlic, Sanskrit śigru(ka)-, and Old Persian *θigra(ka)-

In: Indo-Iranian Journal
View More View Less
  • 1 French Institute of Pondicherry, India, Pondicherry
  • | 2 Groupe de recherches en études indiennes (GREI), France, Paris
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution

Purchase

Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

€29.95$34.95

Abstract

This study proposes a new understanding of the semantics behind Sanskrit śigru-, which Lubotsky (2002) suggested is a loanword from Scythian related to Old Persian *θigra(ka)- and Modern Persian sīr “garlic.” Although śigru- has been assumed to refer to Moringa oleifera Lam. “drumstick tree,” Meulenbeld (2009=2018) has shown that in Āyurvedic literature it is not exclusively used to denote moringa, but must have referred to various pungent, pro-pitta plants. Lubotsky proposed that what links śigru- (as moringa) to Iranian words for garlic is the idea of a sharp shape. However, given Meulenbeld’s conclusions, enhanced by the survey of śigru- in non-Āyurvedic literature undertaken here, the author proposes that the connection is sharp taste rather than shape. The pungent connection is supported by the fact that Dharma texts forbid eating śigru- along with garlic and onions, as well as by semantic developments of the Sanskrit root tij-. Finally, the survey allows for some cultural explanations of the traditional garlic-and-onion prohibition.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 142 142 33
Full Text Views 7 7 3
PDF Views & Downloads 22 22 5