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From Hindi पण्डित ‎(paṇḍit), from Sanskrit पण्डित ‎(paṇḍitá, scholar, learned man, teacher, philosopher).



pundit ‎(plural pundits)

  1. A learned person in India; someone with knowledge of Sanskrit, philosophy, religion and law; a Hindu scholar. [from 17th c.]
    • 1888, Rudyard Kipling, ‘On the City Wall’, In Black and White, Folio Society 2005, p. 430:
      Pundits in black gowns, with spectacles on their noses and undigested wisdom in their insides; bearded headmen of the wards; [...] all these people and more also you might find in the white room.
  2. (historical) A native surveyor in British India, trained to carry out clandestine surveillance beyond British borders.
    • 1990, Peter Hopkirk, The Great Game, Folio Society 2010, p. 295:
      At every hundredth pace the Pundit would automatically slip one bead. Each complete circuit of the rosary thus represented ten thousand paces.
  3. A self-professed expert in a particular field, especially as called upon to provide comment or opinion in the media; a commentator, a critic. [from 19th c.]
    • 2006, The Observer, 4 Jun 2006:
      This week we introduce Jenny Walker, who will be The Observer's expert pundit for the duration of the World Cup.


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