Just learned that “Indus river” is apparently a tautological placename: Ancient Greek Ἰνδός (Indós, “Indus river”), from Old Persian 𐏃𐎡𐎯𐎢𐏁 (hindūš), from Sanskrit सिन्धु (sindhu), ultimately from Proto-Indo-Iranian *síndʰuš (“river”)

@greyor @ryanfb

Right and obviously "Hindu" comes from the Old Persian form (originally meaning something like "dweller in land near/across the Sindhu river"), and the language name "Sindhi" is from the same Sanskrit root.

[Whatever Greeks were involved in the transmission were apparently h-droppers.]

(Though I'm not sure what you mean by tautological in this case.)

@emacsomancer @greyor oh, I just mean a generic term (e.g. “river”) in one language becoming the name for a specific instance of that term in another, sometimes with cross-language pleonasm (e.g. “Indus river”). A friend’s favorite instance of this phenomenon is “Torpenhow Hill”

@ryanfb Oh, I see. Sindhu isn't really a generally word for "river" in Sanskrit though; it's the name of a particular river. Sometimes by extension, it can sort of function as a more generic term: e.g. "saptasindhun" (the special 7 rivers, including the Sindhu itself), but that's a later development and still doesn't 'override' the main sense, which is just as the name of that specific river.


@emacsomancer @greyor ah, my understanding of the etymology is that in PII it was generic, then became specific. Obviously not my specialty!

@ryanfb It's dubious whether it's even an Indo-Aryan word in origin; likely originally a borrowing from Dravidian or another language. (One etymology suggests from Drav. 'cintu', the name of a date palm that grows in the area.)

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