One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A member of a group of peoples living in or near the Naga Hills of Burma (Myanmar) and north-eastern India.
- ‘The Nagas lived in mountainous north-east India on the Myanmar border.’
- ‘He also said ‘eighty per cent of the Nagas supported the peace process today‘.’
- ‘We have seen it in India in the agreement between the Government and the Nagas.’
- ‘With capable leadership and without missionary support, the Nagas and other tribal groups have produced outstanding leaders who helped indigenize the Christian gospel in a positive way.’
- ‘Many Nagas are said now to speak broken Assamese and Hindi.’
2mass noun Any of the Tibeto-Burman languages of the Nagas, with about 340,000 speakers altogether.
- ‘This seemed to gain some attention, as a few snarling words in Naga accompanied a warrior struggling out of bed, sword in hand.’
Relating to the Nagas or their language.
- ‘From the color of their sarongs and the way they wear their machetes in a shoulder scabbard, I know they are Naga tribesmen.’
- ‘The typical Naga embroidery has been used on the long jackets that are embellished with leather straps and more sequence.’
- ‘The Naga tribesmen I manage to speak to refuse to guide me.’
- ‘While music may have always been part of Naga life, the state has recently witnessed a sudden growth of pop bands and folk music groups.’
- ‘The talks with Naga elders may be fraught with tension but attempts are being made by both sides to keep the dialogue going.’
Perhaps from Sanskrit nagna ‘naked’ or naga ‘mountain’.
(in Indian mythology) a member of a semi-divine race, part human, part cobra in form, associated with water and sometimes with mystical initiation.
- ‘The naga turned and smiled, his golden-reptilian eyes locking with his.’
- ‘Thus, the nagas, who in Buddhist mythology protected Buddha before his enlightenment by shooting down lightning bolts aimed at him, guard the sacred temple.’
- ‘Specially pertinent to this period is the image of Buddha seated on the mythological, multi-headed serpent or naga.’
- ‘His canvasses have lustrous Buddhas, among nagas, dragons, animals and birds.’
From Sanskrit nāga ‘serpent’.
(in some Hindu sects) a naked wandering ascetic, in particular one belonging to a sect whose members carry arms and serve as mercenaries.
- ‘The textiles of Indonesia have, across time, also incorporated and integrated Hindu's symbols such as the Garuda, the naga, the lotus, the elephant, the ‘mandala diagrams’ and so on.’
- ‘Buddha not only gave the teachings in human language but in the language of the gods and the nagas.’
- ‘The totally naked sadus are called nagas, and they are the most militant of the sect.’
- ‘Beyond that, there are devas, nagas, higher categories of devas such as Brahma or Shiva, and so on.’
From Hindi nāgā ‘naked’.
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