aMsala = "tender"?

thompson at thompson at
Tue Feb 18 22:34:06 UTC 1997

In response to Timothy Lubin's question:
>My question regards the condition Y. places on his meat consumption.
>Everyone seems to accept Julius Eggeling's translation of the term _aMsala_
>as "tender," despite the fact that Boehtlingk and Roth define it as "stark,
>kraeftig" (and thence Monier-Williams's "lusty, strong"), citing PaaNini and
>some Skt. lexicons in addition to ZB, and understanding it to be related to
>_aMsa_ "shoulder."
>The term is not common, and the only early occurrence is the one in ZB, so
>far as I know.  Can we really follow Eggeling in this?  Are there any less
>circumstantial reasons for understanding it to mean tender?  Why not "firm,"
>"lean," or even--who knows?--"tough."  (There's no accounting for tastes.
>Perhaps he just prefers shoulder-meat!)
In referring to the passage earlier I also wondered about aMsala', but the
etymological connection with a'Msa is not assured. Mayrhofer [EWA I, p.38],
who earlier in KEWA accepted the traditional gloss "stark, kraeftig", now
glosses it as "fett, fettreich", citing an article by Mehendale [in Fs.
Waldschmitt]. Here is a snippet of that article, quoted by Mayrhofer: "and
secondarily... through Brahmanical identification of me'das with me'dha,
[aMsala' =] 'full of sacrificial essence'..."

Mayrhofer himself remains uncertain of the etymology.  But he suggests that
it may still be related to a'Msa be some sort of ellipsis -- "mit [fetten]
Schultern".  Mehendale by the way assumes a form *aMsa = "fat", but
apparently offers no evidence to support this [Mayrhofer does not accept

I still think that "tender, juicy, fatty" beef is what is meant at ZB, though I concede that there is room for doubt.

Best wishes,

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