One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A red powder used ceremonially and cosmetically, especially by Hindu women to make a small distinctive mark on the forehead.
- ‘‘Wearing kumkum or sandalwood paste need not be abandoned,’ they said.’
- ‘I wore a black shirt and dhoti (a wrap-around waist cloth) and applied sandalwood paste and kumkum (red powder) to my forehead.’
- ‘Women apply kumkum on the foreheads of their sons and husbands and send them to fight battles.’
- ‘In the busy commercial streets of the city you will find huge pumpkins broken to pieces and scattered on the road, some smeared with kumkum.’
From Sanskrit kuṅkuma ‘saffron’.
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