bahuvrihi

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Sanskrit Beta 1469, a Sanskrit manuscript thought to date to 1469 in the Wellcome Library, London, England, UK. It explains the karmic relationship between certain sinful acts and the consequences of disaster or disease that follow from them. The word bahuvrihi is borrowed from Sanskrit.

Borrowing from Sanskrit बहुव्रीहि (bahuvrīhi, much rice), itself a bahuvrihi from बहु (bahu, much) + व्रीहि (vrīhi, rice), referring neither to much nor to rice, but to a person possessing an abundance of rice, that is, a wealthy person.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

bahuvrihi (plural bahuvrihis)

Examples (type of nominal compound)
  • bluestocking — A scholarly, literary, or cultured woman
  • lowlife — An untrustworthy, despicable, or disreputable person.
  • redcoat — A British soldier during the American Revolution
  1. (linguistics, also attributive) A type of nominal compound in which the first part modifies the second and neither part alone conveys the intended meaning.
    • 1825, [Svayambhuva Manu], “[Notes.] Chap. III.”, in Graves Chamney Haughton, editor, Mánava-Dherma-Sástra; or The Institutes of Menu, volume I (Sanscrit Text), London: Printed by Cox and Baylis, Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, OCLC 383327, page 340:
      Considerable discrepancies prevail with regard to the word मूचिीः which the Calcutta edition and all the authorities except the Bombay copy and No. VI. read without the visarga. It has subsequently been inserted in Mr. [Charles] Wilkins' ms., and is clearly required by the sense, as तोजोमूचिीः is a bahuvrihi or compound epithet.
    • 1870 June 8, Th[eodor] Goldstücker, “Appendix to Page 18”, in On the Deficiencies in the Present Administration of Hindu Law; being a Paper Read at the Meeting of the East India Association on the 8th of June, 1870, London: Trübner and Co., 60, Paternoster Row, published 1871, OCLC 35239947, page 48, footnote †:
      The drift of this paribâshâ, as Patañjali explains it, is to show that Bahuvrîhi compounds (in English comparable to adjective compounds like lightfoot—i.e. one who possesses light feet,—or blueeye-d, &c.) are of two kinds, the one expressing a quality or an attribute which is essential, and the other expressing a quality or an attribute which is not essential, to the subject so predicated by the compound. Thus, as Patañjali illustrates, if you say: 'there march the priests having red turbans on,' the Bahuvrîhi lohitoshńísháh 'having red turbans on' implies here an essential quality of the priests, since this quality cannot be disconnected from their appearance as they march.
    • 1986, Alan J[effrey] Nussbaum, Head and Horn in Indo-European (Untersuchungen zur indogermanischen Sprach- und Kulturwissenschaft [Studies in Indo-European Language and Culture], New Series; 2), Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, ISBN 978-0-89925-132-5, page 273:
      It would therefore not be surprising if unambiguous bahuvrihi morphology were to be used occasionally in a governing compound.
    • 1997, Prague Studies in English (Acta Universitatis Carolinae, Philologica), volume XXII, Prague: Universita Karlova, ISSN 1801-8858, OCLC 754610951, page 16:
      At the same time, none of the extended adjectival bahuvrihis has its linear counterpart in either poem. This is characteristic of the general situation in Old English. Neither the correspondence between the linear and the reversed bahuvrihis nor the relation between the linear and the extended bahuvrihis is symmetrical, []
    • 2006, Réka Benczes, Creative Compounding in English: The Semantics of Metaphorical and Metonymical Noun-Noun Combinations (Human Cognitive Processing; 19), Amsterdam; Philadelphia, Pa.: John Benjamins Publishing Company, ISBN 978-90-272-2373-9, page 19:
      The fourth subcategory of exocentric compounds are the infamous bahuvrihi constructions, such as hunchback, paleface, scatterbrain. [Hans] Marchand defines these as expressions which denote somebody (or something) which can be characterised by the feature expressed by the compound. Thus, bahuvrihi compounds have some kind of an identifying function. Marchand provides the following explanation for the origins of bahuvrihi compounds: they were used very early in Indo-European languages, primarily for namegiving, but most of them functioned only as adjectives.

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