Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sanskrit Word in English: Brahmin

The Sanskrit word brahmana, usually rendered as brahmin in English, refers to a Hindu priest. The brahmins (priests) were one of the four classes in ancient Indian culture, along with the kshatriya class of military rulers, the vaishya class of merchants and farmers, and the shudra class of servants and workers. You can read more about Hindu brahmins at Wikipedia.

In 19th-century English, the word "brahmin" became specifically associated in a jesting way with the upper class of Boston thanks to an 1860 article by Oliver Wendell Holmes. You can read more about the "Boston Brahmins" at Wikipedia.

The image below shows brahmins conducting a marriage ceremony:

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