TRIVIAL PURSUITS: From Where Does the Word ‘Pundit’ Originate?

After the State of the Union address, we heard from many political pundits about the president’s speech.

From where does the word “pundit” originate?


Pundit means a learned person, or a person who gives opinions in an authoritative manner usually through the mass media.


Pundit comes from the Hindi pandit. And pandit was derived from the Sanskrit pandita, which means “a learned man or scholar.”


According to, the term first enters English in the late seventeenth century, referring to a court official in Colonial India who advised English judges about Hindu law.


In the 1800s, the British ran into problems trying to access Indian border countries in the north. So, they trained and paid local Indians to survey the land for them. These surveyors were called pundits.
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