Friday, February 8, 2013

Hindi Word in English: Chintz

The English word CHINTZ comes from Hindi chint, which is in turn from Sanskrit chitra, meaning "distinctively marked, many-colored" (as also in the word cheetah). It originally referred to painted calico fabrics imported from India, and it later came to refer to cottons printed with colorful designs, often of flowers. Today the word "chintz" can also refer to colorful patterns used on pottery and in wallpaper. You can read more about chintz in this Wikipedia article.

The word was originally a plural form spelled "chints," but the spelling eventually changed to "chintz."

Chintz was a very common fabric, hence the extended meaning of the adjective "chintzy" to refer to anything that is cheap and/or gaud. Then, from the sense of cheap, "chintzy" has also come to mean stingy or miserly.

This image shows a type of chintz fabric:

This image shows chintz pottery:

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