Saturday, September 29, 2018

Indian Word in English: Tank

The English word TANK in the sense of a "pool" or "lake" comes from India; the Gujarati word tankh means a cistern or water reservoir, as does the Marathi word tanka. These words in turn may derive from Sanskrit tadagam, meaning a "pond" or "lake."

The English phrase "tank top" is related to this meaning of tank; a tank suit was originally a bathing suit for swimming in a tank, i.e. in a swimming pool.

The word "tank" also came to refer to artificial receptacles for water even of a small size, such as fish tanks. Then, in the early 20th century, the word "tank" was used for containers of liquid fuel, like the "gas tank" of a car. This is also where we get the word "tanker" as in oil tankers.

The use of "tank" to refer to a military vehicle dates to 1915 as a kind of code word, chosen because this new weapon looked something like a benzene storage tank. (Military "tanks" were first used in action on the Western Front of World War I in September 1916.)

The image below shows a temple tank at Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu, India:

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