vijayjohn wrote:I've mentioned before that the damn in give a damn comes from the Hindi word [d̪am]. What I didn't mention is that that comes from Sanskrit dramma, which was borrowed from Middle Persian draxm, which in turn was borrowed as a result of Alexander the Great's invasions from Greek δραχμή. So, a drachma.
Where did you hear this?
It's a pretty widely acknowledged etymology, actually. I specifically used Turner's Comparative Dictionary of the Indo-Aryan Languages
, but it's also here
, where they list two more sources that you can see for yourself directly from that page (at the beginning of the first reference and the end of the second).
Or if you mean the part about damn
in that particular expression being folk-etymologized Hindi, that's from Hobson-Jobson
I really want it to be true because it's way more interesting than the alternative, but elaborate fancy etymologies like this based on some famous king or some shit seem to almost always be made up.
It's not really as far-fetched as it might seem, though. The Greeks had a presence in South Asia for a pretty long
time. One of Ashoka's Edicts in Afghanistan has a Greek inscription, and another one
(in Kandahar) is in Greek and Aramaic. There are occasional references to Greeks in (ancient) Sanskrit literature, too.