The origin of the English word ‘die’ has been traced to the Old Danish ‘doja’ and Old Norwegian ‘deyja’ – both meaning ‘to die, pass away’. The origins of ‘Deyja’ and ‘Doja’ are in turn traced to the ‘Proto Germanic’ (a hypothetical language which is regarded as an ancestor of all European languages) ‘dawjanan’ which, it is said, means ‘to kill’.

‘Dawjanan’ is traced to yet another hypothetical language PIE (Proto Indo European) – the concerned PIE word here being ‘dheu’, which means ‘to pass away’ or ‘become senseless’.

This is a little contrived. A more likely explanation comes to fore if one traces the source of ‘die’ to Sanskrit. 

In Sanskrit the word ‘deh’ (देह) means ‘body’. The Proto Germanic ‘dawjanan’ which means ‘to kill’, may really be a distortion of the Sanskrit ‘deh hanan’ (देह हनन) which in literal Sanskrit means ‘body kill’. ‘Hanan’ (हनन) is Sanskrit for murder.

The old Norwegian ‘deyja’ which again means death might be a distortion of the Sanskrit ‘dehant’ (देहान्त). In literal Sanskrit, ‘dehant’ means ‘end of the body’ – deha (देह) meaning body and ‘anta’ (अन्त) end.

To describe death as ‘the end of the body’ is also a Vedic concept, where death is regarded as the end of the body alone while consciousness or the spiritual self lives on.


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