Words of Indian origin have been insinuating themselves into English ever since the end of the reign of Elizabeth and the beginning of that of King James. When such terms as calico, chintz,
and gingham had already effected a lodgment in English warehouses and shops, and were lying in
wait for entrance into English literature. Such outlandish guests grew more frequent 120 years
ago, when, soon after the middle of last century, the numbers of Englishmen in the Indian services,
civil and military, expanded with the great acquisition of dominion then made by the company; and we meet them in vastly greater abundance now.
Vocabularies of Indian and other foreign words in use among Europeans in the East, have not unfrequently been printed. Several of the old travellers have attached the like to their arratives; whilst the prolonged excitement created in England, a hundred years since, by the impeachment of Hastings and kindred matters, led to the publication of several glossaries as independent works; and a good many others have been published in later days.
The dictionary holds over 2,000 entries, generally with citations from literary sources, many of which date of the first European contact with the Indian subcontinent, frequently in other non-English European languages. Most entries also have etymological notes.
It is a historical dictionary of Anglo-Indian words and terms from Indian languages which came into use during the British rule of India.
It was written by Henry Yule and Arthur C. Burnell and first published in 1886. Burnell had died before the work was finished, and most of it was finished by Yule, who, however, deeply acknowledged Burnell's contributions. A subsequent edition was edited by William Crooke in 1903, with extra quotations and an Index added.
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