The word “thug” comes from a murderous cult of bandits in India called Thuggee, who worshipped the Hindu goddess of death and destruction

What A Thug’s Life Looked Like In 19th Century India

During a 1906 meeting of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Sir William Turner submitted part three of his research “Contributions to the Craniology of the People of the Empire of India.” Included were the photographs of individual skulls from a group who the British Medical Journal said “made it their business to frequent the great highways of India and become friendly with travelers, with a view to setting upon them and strangling them.”

Meet the original thugs.

The word “thug” traces its roots to the Hindi and Urdu word thag, which means thief or swindler, and which itself is derived from the Sanskrit verb sthagati (to conceal). The word would enter the English language in the 1800s during the British imperial rule of India.

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7 thoughts on “The word “thug” comes from a murderous cult of bandits in India called Thuggee, who worshipped the Hindu goddess of death and destruction”

  1. West-Painter

    We all know this because of Indiana jones

  2. surroundedbybanjos

    “Soon, Kali Ma will rule the world!” – Mola Ram

  3. LaReineAnglaise53

    I love it how really polite middle class gardeners describe a plant that has a tendancy to dominate space and other plants surrounding it as “an absolute thug”

    What are they living in? A Savage Garden?

  4. ABisset

    The first time fingerprinting was seriously used as a crime investigation technique was to catch the Thuggee.

    They would often be law abiding people much of the year before coming together to commit robbery/murders. A new level of forensics was required to catch them.

  5. BarrytheBadrinath

    #THUGGEE LIFFEE.

  6. wateroclock

    Imagine living off robbing and murdering people like they did. It is, of course, possible, even now. Roads are economic veins, there are places for leeches. But establish a big group around that when being consistent at the job would absolutely call for involvement of the military or mercenaries? There’s no way to bribe your way out of their specific kind of business, something doesn’t add up.

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