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From Sanskrit +‎ -ize (suffix forming verbs indicating the making of things denoted by the words it is affixed to).[1]



Sanskritize (third-person singular simple present Sanskritizes, present participle Sanskritizing, simple past and past participle Sanskritized) (transitive, American spelling, Oxford British English)

  1. (linguistics) To render a non-Sanskrit text, word, etc., in a form characteristic of Sanskrit morphology or phonology.
    • 1837 September, Cinsurensis [pseudonym], “Review. Oriental Fragments, by the Author of the Hindu Pantheon. London, 1834. [book review]”, in The Calcutta Christian Observer, volume VI, number 64, Calcutta, West Bengal: [] Thacker & Co. [], OCLC 6842644, page 496:
      "In India, gao, gauri, govinda, have relation to Kine." The 1st and 3rd have, but the other (meaning white, fair), none whatever, though the only one to his [Edward Moor's] purpose (and that but in sound), which is to Sanskritize Cuarius, a local epithet of Neptune as worshipped at Cierium in Thessaly!
    • 1875, Robert Caldwell, quoting Hermann Gundert, “Part IV. The Numerals.”, in A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian Family of Languages, 2nd edition, London: Trübner & Co., [], OCLC 1017304205, page 233:
      One feels further inclined to derive the Sanskrit amśa, a portion, from the aforesaid pañchu, añju, as a Sanskritising of a popular word.
    • 1876 March, J[ohn] F[aithfull] Fleet, “Sanskṛit and Old Canarese Inscriptions”, in Ja[me]s Burgess, editor, The Indian Antiquary, a Journal of Oriental Research [], volume V, Bombay, Maharashtra: [] Education Society’s Press, []; London: Trübner & Co.; [], OCLC 985539491, section no. XIII, page 68:
      Taking the old form of the name, ‘Bâdâvi’, which we meet with as far back as Śaka 622 (a.d. 700–1), the interchange of letters,—‘’ with ‘’; ‘’ with ‘’; and ‘pi’ with ‘vi’,—is natural enough, whether we take ‘Bâdâvi’ as a Prâkṛit corruption of the Sanskṛit ‘Vâtâpi’, or whether we take ‘Vâtâpi’ as a name already known in Sanskṛit literature and therefore used as the nearest approach towards Sanskṛitizing a Dravidian name.
    • 1878, Robert N[eedham] Cust, “Aryan Family”, in A Sketch of the Modern Languages of the East Indies. [] (Trübner’s Oriental Series; IV), London: Trübner & Co., [], OCLC 457325025, page 60:
      The New Testament was translated in 1818 into this Dialect in the Nágari Character, and much Sanskritised.
    • 1884, “Skilfulness”, in H[endrik] Kern, transl.; F[riedrich] Max Müller, editor, The Saddharma-Pu[ṇḍ]arîka or The Lotus of the True Law (The Sacred Books of the East; XXI), Oxford, Oxfordshire: Clarendon Press, OCLC 504352410, footnote 1, page 39:
      Both imaginary words are no doubt the result of an unhappy attempt to Sanskritise a Prâkrit nippalâva by scribes unacquainted with the Sanskrit palâva (Pâli palâpa).
    • 1965, D. C. Sircar [i.e., Dineshchandra Sircar], “Technical Expressions”, in Indian Epigraphy, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, published 1996, →ISBN, page 426:
      Sometimes Prakrit words were wrongly Sanskritised. Reference may be made in this connection to utkṛṣṭi derived from Prakrit ukkuṭṭhi (Sanskrit utkrośa) meaning 'wailing'. Similar is the case with ḍheṅku-kaḍḍhaka and nīla-ḍumphaka which appear to have been imperfectly Sanskritised.
    • 2004, A[nthony] K[ennedy] Warder, “Epic and Drama in the Time of Vastupāla”, in Indian Kāvya Literature: Volume VII: The Wheel of Time: Part II, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, →ISBN, paragraph 6758, page 539:
      The Avacūrī Sanskritises the first verse in this verse as Sudayavacchakathā and it seems to be Svayambḥū's epic on Śūdraka [...].
    • 2009, Elliot Sperling, “Tibetan Buddhism, Perceived and Imagined, along the Ming-Era Sino-Tibetan Frontier”, in Matthew T. Kapstein, editor, Buddhism between Tibet and China (Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism), Somerville, Mass.: Wisdom Publications, →ISBN, part II (Missions from the Frontiers), footnote 18, page 175:
      Note that this work, in contrast to the lhan thabs, sanskritizes Rin chen dpal more properly as "Ratna shri".
  2. (linguistics) To influence a non-Sanskrit language by Sanskritic vocabulary.
    • 1860, J[ohn] Muir, “The Languages of Northern India: Their History and Relations”, in Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and History of the People of India, Their Religion and Institutions. [], part second (The Trans-Himalayan Origin of the Hindus, []), London; Edinburgh: Williams and Norgate, [], OCLC 606149185, section VIII, page 146:
      The period when Sanskrit began to spread itself over India cannot be determined any more than the era of the immigration of the people who spoke it. We can only determine the following points: [...] (2) to the north, the Sanskrit or its dialects prevailed as far as the Himalaya and the Indian Caucasus; (3) to the east, in the time of Aśoka, as far as the region of the Brahmaputra, though this region was not entirely Sanskritized; [...]
    • 1863, James D’Awlis, “Introduction”, in Kachchàyana [i.e., Kātyāyana], An Introduction to Kachchàyana’s Grammar of the Pàli Language; [], Colombo; London: Williams and Norgate, [], OCLC 560321171, page cx:
      The Tamils and Hindus use a dialect full of Sanskrit words; and the modern Sinhalese with a view to beautify language, do not assimilate sounds, and shorten expressions, but Sanskritize our ancient simple language.
    • 1872, “The Department of Education”, in Report on the Administration of Bengal: 1871–72, Calcutta, West Bengal: [] Bengal Secretariat Press, OCLC 191708132, part I (The General Report), page 249:
      Of late years there has, however, been a strong tendency to Sanskritise the written Bengali, so much so that the Bengali of our school books had begun to differ widely from the language spoken and understood by an intelligent but unlettered man from the streets.
    • 1926, Suniti Kumar Chatterji, The Origin and Development of the Bengali Language, Calcutta, West Bengal: Calcutta University Press, OCLC 265483802, page 134:
      Literary Bengali of prose, during the greater part of the 19th century, was thus a doubly artificial language; and, with its forms belonging to Middle Bengali, and its vocabulary highly Sanskritised, it could only be compared to a 'Modern English' with a Chaucerian grammar and a super-Johnsonian vocabulary, if such a thing could be conceived.
    • 2007, Rama K. Agnihotri, “Identity and Multilinguality: The Case of India”, in Amy B. M. Tsui and James W. Tollefson, editors, Language Policy, Culture, and Identity in Asian Contexts, New York, N.Y.; Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge, published 2015, →ISBN, part III (Language Policy and Language Politics: The Role of English), page 193:
      Since Hindi became the official language of the Indian Union, the processes started at the beginning of the century to "Sanskritize" and "sanitize" it have intensified in the sense that the words and expressions of Persian, Arabic, and Urdu origin have been, and are still being, removed and substituted by new words. The decision to intensively "Sanskritize" Hindi, in spite of the explicit directive of the constitution that Hindi should draw on other Indian languages as well in addition to borrowing primarily from Sanskrit, has led to undesirable consequences for Hindi and Urdu today—linguistically, socially, and politically.
  3. (South Asia, Southeast Asia) To emulate rituals and practices of upper classes so as to gain upward social mobility.
    • 1872 January 11, Ram[a]krishna Gopal Bhandarkar, “Art. VIII.—A Devanágari Transcript and Date of a New Valabhí Copperplate, and a New Interpretation of the Figured Dates on the Published Grants of the Valabhí Dynasty.”, in The Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, volume X, number XXVIII, Bombay, Maharashtra: [Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic] Society’s Library, []; London: Trübner & Co., [], published 1873, OCLC 1194302069, page 73:
      After the Maráṭhás had put down the Mahomedans and established their sway, they always used the Mahomedan era, sometimes along with, but often without, the Śaka, notwithstanding the efforts of Shiváji to Sanskṛitize his Durbar.
    • 1993, “Introduction”, in Wendy Doniger, editor, Purāṇa Perennis: Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts, Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, →ISBN, page xi:
      In the hope of making the book accessible to a nonspecialist audience, I have tried to de-Sanskritize it as far as posible. [...] For when castes rise in both status and power by Sanskritizing, texts fall in status but rise in (readership) power by de-Sanskritizing.
    • 2008, Sunita Zaidi, “Oral Tradition and Little Culture: Jasnathis in Historical Perspective”, in Surinder Singh and Ishwar Dayal Gaur, editors, Popular Literature and Pre-modern Societies in South Asia, Delhi; Chennai, Tamil Nadu: Pearson Longman, →ISBN, page 162:
      Their [...] desire to Sanskritize themselves, comes by identifying themselves with a surrounding socio-religious elite and high cultural values.
    • 2019, Divya Vaid; Ankur Datta, “Caste and Contemporary Hindu Society: Community, Politics, and Work”, in Torkel Brekke, editor, The Oxford History of Hinduism: Modern Hinduism, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, part 3 (Politics, Ethics, and Law), page 224:
      Srinivas himself observed situations when lower castes attempting to observe upper-caste practices were subjected to censure and punishment from upper castes initially. However, to sanskritize successfully calls upon more pragmatic measures, which include the changing socio-economic and political context. Groups that have been able to sanskritize tend to have a significant population, and other sources of power.

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  1. ^ Sanskritize, adj.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1909.

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