Disassembling the ‘Engineer’

Sujatha R
3 min readMar 8, 2018

Technology jargons and its links with the Indian subcontinent !

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What is the connection between Gene, Genesis, Engine and Engineer?

Well, after some guessing, it is obvious that all the four words contain the root word ‘gene’.

Many of the technical terms have their origins from the Greek and Latin words. But wait, did you know the Greek and Latin words had roots from Sanskrit too?

For the Indians, “Greek and Latin” as a metaphor it self means ‘I DO NOT UNDERSTAND A BIT, it is over my head’. With the knowledge of Indian Languages, let us try to see a few technology words and its root meaning.

Coming back to the ‘Engineer’ word, it is from the Sanskrit word ‘Ja’ ‘Janm’ meaning ‘create’ or ‘give birth’..

Engineer is he who creates and makes things.

Photogenic, Homogeneous, Heterogeneous are some more words in the ‘gene’ category.

What about Technology, Texture and Architecture?

The underlying word ‘tect’ is indirectly inspired from ‘taksh’ which means to carve and chisel. Woodcutter in Sanskrit is ‘takshak’ and the famous ancient university ‘Taksha Shila

Architect is the chief (arch) builder (takshak). The word arch (arka) refers to the Sun who is the master of the Solar System..

So Technology and Architecture was perceived to designing, weaving, spinning and building new ideas and products.

What is ‘Universal’ about USB?

This is a 2 step lookup word. From ‘verse’ or song came Universe.. A common celestial order inspite of the astronomical complexity..

The root ‘ver’ is related to ‘rotation’. In a verse, after every line, there is a rotation to the beginning.

Transverse, Inverse, Vertex, Vertical are words coined around rotation. In Sanskrit vrutti(circle), parivrutti(rotation), parivartan(change) contain the rotation and the change aspect. Interestingly even profession was wisely called ‘vrutti’ perhaps we are tethered to our profession day in and out.

The M series .. Math, Limits, Metre, Measure

Each of them contain the sound ‘ma’ which represents finiteness and measured quantities in Sanskrit. ‘niMitt’ meaning limited, ‘aMit’ meaning infinite, ‘matr’ meaning quantity.

What is the correlation in Calendar, Calculate and Calculus?

Well each of them has the sound ‘cal’. In Sanskrit, ‘kal’ refers to pebbles.. Counting of stones or ‘kal’ inspired words like Calculus and Calculate.

Kaal’ is a count of time from which ‘kalendar’ was derived.

In the world of Autonomous and Self driven cars a, what is the etymology break up of ‘Autonomous’ and ‘Self’?

Probably Auto is from the word ‘atma’ meaning self.. and self from ‘swayam’. Cognition from the word ‘jnanam’ meaning knowledge.

Some more Technology words

Medium is from ‘madhyam’

Trigonometry — three (thri) + angle (kona) + measurement (matra) aka trikonamati in Sanskrit

Navigation boat(naava) + dynamics(gati) naavagathi in Sanskrit

The author is a self paced learner of Sanskrit and etymology of words. This article is based on her deductions and some of the learnings from the Etymology group — Sanskrit The language of Gods. References: ‘Comparative etymological Dictionary of classical Indo-European languages: Indo-European — Sanskrit — Greek — Latin’.

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Sujatha R

I write.. I weave.. I walk.. कवयामि.. वयामि.. यामि.. Musings on Music, Linguistics & Patterns