According to Historian Bernard Lewis in his essay
The Revolt of Islam:
"Followers of many
faiths have at one time or another invoked religion in the practice of murder,
both retail and wholesale. Two words deriving from such movements in Eastern
religions have even entered the English language...."
Assassin is one of them. What is the
Etymology, Etymology, and more Etymology
as well as grammar, usage, euphemism, slang, jargon, semantics, linguistics, neologism, idiom, cant, and argot.
The critically-acclaimed board game
consists of tough questions about the nuances of the English language.
According to Lewis, "Two words deriving from such movements
in Eastern religions have even entered the English language: "thug," from
India, and "assassin," from the Middle East, both commemorating fanatical
religious sects whose form of worship was to murder those whom they regarded as
enemies of the faith."
assassin derives from the Arabic
hashishiyyin, hashish-users. It denotes an Ismaili Muslim
political-protest movement whose members ate hash and stabbed opponents - in
The word thug derives from
the Marathi thag, swindler. According to somebody at the
Wikipedia, "The thuggee religion was allegedly a cult with
Hindu, Muslim and some Sikh members who practiced large-scale robbery and
murder of travellers." [I'd find a better source but I'm too lazy.]
Note: Lewis's complete essay can be found at: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/011119fa_FACT2
Salesman ought to
be the other.
ltasker at taskercounselling.com
I believe that Thuggees specialised in garrotting their victims,
using a sacred scarf for the purpose. However, the victims were not chosen on
the grounds of religion or because they were "enemies of the faith" but, as
your Wikipedia source says, because they were travelling through and had
something worth stealing.
fmcloughlin at amadeus.com
I've just read a segment on the Thugs in James Morris' At
Heaven's Command. Jesus, what a violent nutty bunch THEY
I heard that Shakespeare invented the word
[Mootguy: The first OED
citation for the word is from Macbeth: 1605 Shakes. Macb. i. vii.
2: If th' Assassination Could trammell up the Consequence, and catch
With his surcease, Successe. However, this doesn't prove that
Shakespeare invented the word. He might have heard someone else use it and then
made it his own.]
fourhclover at hotmail.com
The standard work on thagi is Sleeman's
Confessions of a Thug. Sleeman was the British army officer
who discovered how widespread the practice was.
mre at xtra.co.nz
Good question, but Bernard Lewis is notoriously innacurate regarding
Islam. Despite his reputation, he is an "orientalist" who imposes a Western
prejudice on the Muslim world. His "clash of civilizations" falderall is
typical of his simplistic, Judeo-Christian mentality.
gregf at gregfelton.com
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