Mumbai/Bombay article

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at UMR.EDU
Thu Jul 13 15:52:35 UTC 2006

It's a coincidence. Mumbai is from the goddess Mumba-devi, and Bombay is from Portuguese for "Good Bay."  Meanwhile, I see that Mumba may in turn derive from "Maha Amba" (= Great Mother).  A check of Google, for example, turns up:
                'An etymology of Mumba that is popular is "Maha Amba," or "Great Mother," one of the many of India's more well-known names for the Hindu Mother Goddess ( Devi).'

The above quote may or may not be correct.  Can any scholars (academic or independent) shed light on this?

Gerald Cohen


From: American Name Society on behalf of Mark A. Mandel
Sent: Thu 7/13/2006 10:08 AM
Subject: Re: Mumbai/Bombay article

Howard Wilk quotes:


The name change didn't impact all of Mumbai's residents. Speakers of Marathi
and Gujarati, the local languages, have always called the city Mumbai.
"Bombay" is an anglicization of the Portuguese name "Bombaim," which is
believed to derive from the phrase "Bom Bahia," or "Good Bay." (Portugal
held territories in western India until 1961.) In Hindi, India's national
language, the city is still called Bambai.


So are "Bombay" and "Mumbai" related at all, or is the similarity just a

-- Mark A. Mandel
[This text prepared with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.]

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list