The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database


abatis - defence formed by placing felled trees lengthwise, one over the other, with their branches towards the enemies lines

agar - aromatic oil from the eagle-wood tree

ageratum - an everlasting flower

aitsukeba - Y post in Litami

amorces - caps for guns

amung - an Ao sabbath

ang - clan of chiefs among the Konyaks

apotia - unlucky, accursed, death

apuki - apu = young man, ki = house (Sema); in fact log-drum house

aren - soul

babu - a native clerk who writes English

bara - large

basha - temporary accomodation

beal - mouth of a river or valley

betula - a tree

bihu - religious festival (Assamese)

bundobast - a revenue settlement

calash - small, open, chariot

chabili - form of currency used in the Ao country

chalan - labourers or servants permits?

chaprasi - bearer

chara - food, both human and animal

chaukidar - watchman

chaul - husked rice

chekru - village official (Thenizumi)

chelwa - fish

chillum - part of the hookah containing the tobacco seed

chittack - a measure

chokra - house boy

chota - little

chota haziri - 'little breakfast'

chunga - cup made of bamboo

chur - sandbank; alluvial land

classi - tent pitcher (servant)

communation - recital of divine threatenings against sinners

compunder - mixer of medicines (barefoot doctor)

cutcherry, kacheri - magistrate's court

dahu - fortifications at Khonoma

damdims - insects

dao - sort of bill of varying shape used both for wood-cutting and as a weapon

dapfu nullah - slab drain

daroga - local chief of police or head constable

deo bish - fish 'poison'

deo-mani - a variety of bead from a reddish-brown stone flecked with black, much valued, "god-bead"

deota - god

dengue - fever

dhan - unhusked rice

dharis, durries - bed clothes

dhooly - covered litter, carried by two or four men

dhun (dhoon) - flat valley, parallel to the base of the Himalayas

dikdari - worry, trouble, botheration

disolith - stone erected near water tank?

dobashi - interpreter

durbar (darbar) - gathering of persons for conference

ekra - tall grass

erysipelas - febrile disease, 'St Anthony's fire'

euphorbia - sort of cactus

feu de joie - a salute fired by musketry on occasion of public rejoicing, so that it passes from man to man rapidly and steadily, giving one continuous soun

ficus tree - rubber tree

fulminate - a compound of fulminic acid with a base, detonating by percussion, friction of heat

gadela - some sort of 'saddle' used on elephants?

gaonbura - village elder

gareo - a type of bamboo associated with graves

genna - feast

goalas - watchmen

godown - warehouse

gomashta - native agent or factor

goor - molasses

gunda - a rogue elephant?

ha-chong - head-tree (Chang, Tuensang)

hakim - judge, ruler, master

hathis - elephants

helio - communication by mirror

hiba - shaman

hiniu - female shaman

hoki - friend

huldee - a spice

jadu - spell

jampan - kind of sedan chair

jangar - raft

jappa - four-footed carrying basket with a lid, narrower at the bottom than the top

jara - wild cardamum

jat - clan, race

Jemadar - Indian Army, 2nd rank; also servant in charge of other servants

jheel - a mere or lagoon

jhuming - a form of extensive cultivation in which an area is cleared of jungle by burning

kadur (khadir) - recent alluvial bordering a big river

kahar - one who carried loads

kemovo - director of village ceremonies (Angami)

kenna - Angami word for 'genna'

khabbar - news

khair - an astringent extract from the wood of several species of acacia

khana - receptacle, compartment

khals - narrow-necked earthenware jar for storing liquid

khansama - house steward; chief table servant and provider

khat - land formerly given to Nagas by Ahoms; rent from khats went to Government from 1921, and Nagas received a fixed amount

khatdar - persons who owned khat land

kheddah (keddah) - elephant trap

khel - subdivision of a Naga village

khud (khudd) - precipitious hillside, or deep valley

khullakpa - village headman (Zemi)

khulen, khullen

big village

khunou - small village

kipuchi - genna stone (Angami)

kitmagar - servant

lac - dark-red resinouse incrustation produced in certain trees by the puncture of an insect (coccus lacca) and use as a scarlet dye

lakh - one hundred thousand rupees

lambu, lampur - a herald, agent, go-between (semi-sacred)

lao - gourd used for carrying and storing liquor

laoki, lauki - container for liquid

latha - forest plant (Lhota)

lathi - stick

laya, mulong - brass disc, used as currency and as decoration by the Konyak

lengta - narrow strip of cloth tied round the waist, passing between the legs from behind and up to the waist again in front, whence if falls down again in a square flap

machan, maichan - an elevated platform of wood or bamboo, erected to watch a tiger, guard a field etc.

madhu, modhu - fermented liquor brewed from rice

magutung - head tree (Sangtam)

maibi, maiba - priest or priestess

makna, mukna - wild

mali - gardener

mamooty - digging tool of the form usual all over India, shaped like a hoe

mana - spirit, soul (sacred)

masalah - spice

maund - weight of a man, in British India 1 maund = 40 seer

mechuki - field rest house (Angami)

mithan - the domesticated variety of 'bos frontalis', one of a species of Indian bison

mohorir, mohurrer - writer in native language

moochee, moochy - one who works in leather, either as a shoemaker or saddler

moong - kind of vetch, oblong grain of light green colour, used for dhal

moonshi, munshi - writer, interpreter, secretary

morung (or deka chang) - house where batchelors of a clan sleep, also used as a centre for clan ceremonies

N.N.C. - Naga National Council

naik - soldier

neangba, niengba - old men from morungs who meet as a council to judge crimes (Konyak)

nullah - a watercourse

opya - post put up at the installation of a puthi (priest) into which bamboo spears are hurled (Lhota)

oyontsoa - feast (Lhota)

paddy - rice growing or in the husk

pan - leaf used for chewing

pandit, pundit - man learned in law

pani - water

panikhet - irrigated terrace for wet rice

penna - feast or genna (Angami)

panjis - spikes of hardened bamboo, between four and eight inches, used to impede the passage of an enemy, impale wild animals in pits etc.


small copper coin, a quarter of an anna

pita modhu - mild rice beer

pitsu - functionary who is in charge of private pennas (Angami)

poguma, perguma - Imperial pigeon

poke - primitive figures of the dead (Konyak, Kongan)

pucka, pucca, pukka - substantial, permanent

puthi, puti - priest (Lhota)

rhemba - clan official, deals with a head (Konyak)

ritso - poison used in fishing (Lhota)

russud - provision of grain, forage, and other necessaries

salutry, salootree, salustree - native farrier or horse doctor

sangar, sungar - rude stone breastwork

sardar - leader

sarkar, sirkar - British Government

sarkari barut - gunpowder of European manufacture

seer - measure of weight: 1 seer = 80 tolas, 40 seers = 1 maund

serai - building for housing travellers

serow - species of antelope allied to a goat, living on jungle-clad precipices

sesamun, sesame - plant

sheku - log drum (Sema)

shikari - a tracker, hunter of game

sirdar - soldier, rank of petty officer

sowar - a horseman, native cavalry, a mounted orderly

subadar - chief native officer of a company of sepoys

tamasha, tumasha - an entertainment, a spectacle

tehuba - stone circle in front of a morung (Angami)

thana - a police station, or fortified post

thevo - village priest (Angami)

tikka, ticca - applied to any person engaged by the job, or on contract

tokupat, toka pat, tonkopat - large leaf used for thatching

tola - measure of weight: 80 tolas = 1 seer

tope - grove or orchard

vangam - headman

waler - small horse

yemba - builds field house (Konyak)

zemindar - land holder

zevos - official involved in penna (Angami, Khonoma)

zonvophe - cloth with painted mithan on it (Rengma)

zu - fermented liquor

Back (Contents of the textual database)
Next (Acknowledgements)