Etymology of puujaa

kichenas kichenas at
Sat Oct 7 20:40:52 UTC 1995

This is with regard to M. Witzel's remarks:
Further, the root occurs in names in Katha and Maitr. Samhita. It becomes
more common only in the Vedic Kalpa Sutras. The old meaning seems to be "to
honor" (also in early grammarians: Patanjali or Katyayana [I don't
remember which]: rajnaam puujitah) .-- not anything like "to smear" as
suggested by Dravidian.
You don't smear your teacher or guests (at least not in India)  -----  not
even with ointment.

This by itself does not necessarily contradict an evolution out
the idea of `smearing.' One might think of the notion of
 `anointing.' Also, the idea of abhishEkam could be relevant here
(to suggest that the two semantic fields might conceivably be related, 
in an Indian context).
Would it be possible to give more decisive arguments?

                                Satyanad Kichenassamy
                                School of Mathematics
                                University of Minnesota
                                E-mail: kichenas at


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