Friday, December 23, 2011

Dungarees, Jeans, and Denim

Doug from Traverse City asked about the origin of the word dungarees. Those are the (usually) blue trousers made from a rough material. Most people refer to them as blue jeans.

The word shows up in English in 1613. It came from a Hindi word, dungri, which meant coarse calico. In turn, that word came from the name of the village that produced the material. The village was eventually subsumed by Bombay.

Jeans, by the way, is also eponymous. It was named after Genoa, Italy. Likewise, denim was named after Nimes, France, where the fabric was produced.

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

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