Fwd: Re: Etymology of Viagra

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Aug 12 09:05:26 UTC 2001

Below are the results of my consultation with our local expert,
Stanley Insler, the Salibury Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative
Philology at Yale.


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Re Sanskrit vyaghra. First, it is not pronounced vyuh-ghruh; the first a
is long. Hence, vyah-ghruh-.
   Second, oldest attestations only in meaning 'tiger'. When used as a
color term = 'tiger color' like 'canary (yellow)' or 'mouse (grey)', etc.
   Third, etymology from vi+aa+ghraa (aa= long a) 'smell' is dubious. The
word is probably a native term borrowed into Sanskrit. Similar instances
for other plants and animals indigenous to India.
   Viagra as 'tiger' is cute, but more like 'putting a tiger in your tank'
than macho stuff.
--- Stanley Insler

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