Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day (prettygoodword) wrote in 1word1day,
Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day

Thursday word: rickshaw

This week in my main journal I've been running words English acquired from Japanese, so here's another:

rickshaw or ricksha (RIK-shaw, RIK-shah) - n., a light two-wheeled vehicle pulled by a person on foot or a bicycle.

Pulled rickshaw in Kolkata, India - thanks, Wikimedia!

Formerly used widely in Japan and China, as well as other places around eastern and southeastern Asia -- and specifically, it was invented in Tokyo sometime around 1869. Cycle rickshaws, also called pedicabs and velotaxis, and are used around the world still. The word, which first appeared in English in 1887 and popularized by Kipling, is a shortening of Japanese jinrikisha (人力車), literally person (jin) + power(ed) (riki) + vehicle (sha) -- and note that in standard Japanese the third i is generally not pronounced, so that it sounds closer to the English form than it looks.

He called a rickshaw and climbed in and sat chilly and lonely while the man dragged the vehicle along the slippery running streets.

Tags: japanese, noun, r

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