Monday, March 01, 2004

Etymology Today from M-W: baksheesh \BAK-sheesh\
: payment (as a tip or bribe) to expedite service

Baksheesh" came into the English language around 1760 and was most likely picked up by British subjects as they traveled abroad. In Asia, English speakers would have heard "baksheesh" used as a word for "gratuity, a present of money, tip" — a meaning they directly adopted. Etymologically speaking, "baksheesh" is from Persian "bakhshîsh," which is also the source of the word "buckshee," meaning "something extra obtained free," "extra rations," or "windfall, gratuity." "Buckshee" is strictly a British English term and is not used in American English. Like "baksheesh," it too is dated circa 1760.

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