Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hindi Word in English: Cheetah

The English word "cheetah" is from the Hindi chita, which seems to come from Sanskrit chitraka (leopard), based on the root chitras, meaning "distinctively marked, many-colored." For more about the etymology, see etymonline.com.

In ancient Egypt, cheetahs were kept as pets and trained to hunt.  The ancient Persians also used the cheetahs in hunting, and cheetahs were used for hunting in India as well. Emperor Akbar supposedly kept as many as a thousand cheetahs to use for hunting. The image below shows "Emperor Akbar Hunting with Cheetahs" from the Akbar Nama, circa 1602.

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