Word of the Day

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

hobson jobson

\HOB-suhn-JOB-suhn\ , noun;
The alteration of a word borrowed from a foreign language to accord more closely with the linguistic patterns of the borrowing language.
They did the Englishman's dirty work, spoke his language in their own ugly hobson-jobson, full of vulgar abuse, but had none of his cricketing spirit.
-- Khushwant Singh, I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale
She had learned enough hobson-jobson to get along with the other servants, but she was only really fluent in Burushaski.
-- Raymond A. Sokolov, Native Intelligence
Hobson-jobson is an example of its own definition: British soldiers' mangled Anglicization of the Arabic cry they heard at Muharram processions in India, Ya Hasan! Ya Husayn! ("O Hassan! O Husain!".)
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