Words related to indo-


"the Indian subcontinent, central Asia south of the Himalayas," formerly sometimes used generally for "Asia;" since 1947 specifically in reference to the Republic of India, Old English India, Indea, from Latin India, from Greek India "region of the Indus River," later used of the region beyond it, from Indos "Indus River," also "an Indian," from Old Persian Hindu, the name for the province of Sind, from Sanskrit sindhu "river."

The more common Middle English form was Ynde or Inde, from Old French (hence Indies). The form India began to prevail again in English from 16c., perhaps under Spanish or Portuguese influence.


also Indochina, "Farther India, the region between India and China," 1815, from Indo- "India" + China. The name was said to have been proposed by Scottish poet and orientalist John Leyden, who lived and worked in India from 1803 till his death at 35 in 1811. French Indo-Chine is attested from 1813, but the source credits it to Leyden. The inappropriateness of the name was noticed from the start. Related: Indo-Chinese (1814).


1814, coined by English polymath Thomas Young (1773-1829) and first used in an article in the "Quarterly Review," from Indo- + European. "Common to India and Europe," specifically in reference to the group of related languages and to the race or races characterized by their use. William Dwight Whitney ("The Life and Growth of Language," 1875) credits its widespread use to Franz Bopp. 

The alternative Indo-Germanic (1835) was coined in German in 1823 (indogermanisch), based on the two peoples then thought to be at the extremes of the geographic area covered by the languages, but this was before Celtic was realized also to be an Indo-European language. After this was proved, many German scholars switched to Indo-European as more accurate, but Indo-Germanic continued in use (popularized by the titles of major works) and the predominance of German scholarship in this field made it the popular term in England, too, through the 19c. See also Aryan and Japhetic.

Indo-Aryan (1850) seems to have been used only of the Aryans of India. Indo-European also was used in reference to trade between Europe and India or European colonial enterprises in India (1813).


"the East Indies," 1850, from Indo- "India" + Greek nēsos "island" (see Chersonese) + -ia. Formerly called Indian Archipelago or East Indies Islands (see Indies). Related: Indonesian "of or from the East Indies" (1850).

Indo-Pacific (adj.)

1851, in biology, from Indo- + Pacific.