Friday, 13 April 2012

kukri and crepe

A kukri is a curved knife, described by Hobson-Jobson as "The peculiar weapon of the Goorkhas, a bill, admirably designed and poised for hewing a branch or a foe." It's borrowed from Hindi कूकरी/कूकड़ी kūkarī/kūkaṛī, originally meaning "skein". It's from कूकना kūkanā "to wind", probably related to Sanskrit क्रुक्त krukta "curved" and क्रुञ्चति kruñcati "to wind, twist".

The Proto-Indo-European root is *(s)ker- (IEW 935-938) "to turn, bend". The AHD says this is a "Presumed base of a number of distantly related derivatives".

It's hypothesized that there was a suffixed extended form *krīp-so- (from earlier metathesized *(s)kre-i-p-s-) which became *crīpsus, metathesized to Latin crīspus "curly". I know, there's a lot of steps here, and a lot of reliance on these mysterious extensions. The feminine crīspa became French crêpe.