Tuesday, 22 February 2011

chukker and palindrome

Gussie, you see, wasn't like some of my pals--the name of Bingo Little is one that springs to the lips--who, if turned down by a girl, would simply say, "Well, bung-oh!" and toddle off quite happily to find another. He was so manifestly a bird who, having failed to score in the first chukker, would turn the thing up and spend the rest of his life brooding over his newts and growing long grey whiskers, like one of those chaps you read about in novels, who live in the great white house you can just see over there through the trees and shut themselves off from the world and have pained faces.
- PG Wodehouse, Right Ho, Jeeves

chukker/chucker/chukka is given in the OED as a polo term - it's like a period in hockey. But it seems it was first applied to the circular discus used for quoits. The word was borrowed from Hindi चक्कर cakkar "potter's wheel, catherine wheel, discus or sharp circular missile weapon". This is cognate with Sanskrit चक्र cakra "wheel", from Proto-Indo-European *kʷel(H)- "to turn".

It is from this word that the chukka boot comes.

*kʷel(H)- is the source of cycle from Greek (but not circle and circus). If the AHD is to be believed, the suffixed zero-grade *kʷl̥H-i- became Greek πάλιν "again" from the sense of "revolving". palindrome is from Hellenistic Greek παλίνδρομος palindromos "running back again" (δρόμος dromos "running, course, racecourse").

My favourite palindrome is "Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas".


vp said...

This is a tour de force even by your lofty standards, Goofy.

Mattitiahu said...

The words of the last commenter seconded.

TomV said...

Doesn't English "wheel" also come from the root *kʷel(H)?

goofy said...

Yes, I already wrote about it a while ago where I talk about how the reduplicated form became chakra and wheel