Yoga is a fascination for many and a way of life for some, while others find the whole idea unthinkable. Whatever your opinion about yoga, I’m hoping you’ll find its etymology as appealing as I do.
Yoga first came to English in 1820 through Hindi from a Sanskrit word meaning union or yoking. That Sanskrit word came from the Proto-Indo-European word *yeugh-, which meant, to join. It takes no imagination to see how the ideas of union, wholeness & joining could come to mean yoga, but what I find truly fascinating is all the other words that proposed root word *yeugh- has grown into.
It gave us join, adjoin, conjoin, enjoin & joint.
It gave us junction, juncture, adjunct, conjunct & subjunctive.
It gave us subjugate, conjugate & conjugal.
And how about yoke, zygote, jostle, joust, jugular & junta?
*yeugh- to join, gave us all those words while also contributing words to Lithuanian, Old Church Slavonic, Hittite, Greek, Latin, & Old Welsh.
Nothing like a little joining, eh?
Please leave any comments about yoga and its many family-members in the comments section.
Big thanks to this week’s sources: the OED, Etymonline, Collins Dictionary, Merriam Webster, Allfreedownloads & Wordnik.
I write for teens, narrate audio books, bake bread, play music, and ponder the wonder of words in a foggy little town on California's central coast.