I am currently reading Umberto Eco’s latest novel, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. The book is probably the most accessible of Eco’s fiction works, although I’m just a half-way through. Those who have been following my blog would know that I’m an Eco fan, and I keep on recommending his works. And by what I’ve read so far, I think I’m going to end up with another thump-up. But that can wait.
Today, while reading the book, I came across a word: putana. This is an Italian word (some links point at a Greek origin, but need to check it), which according to the book means: “a women who does her own selling”. Some web-surfing led me to this definition at Urban Dictionary:
Putana: A slut or a prostitute.
Derogatory term for a woman or girl of Italian origin.
Those who know Indian mythology, especially the stories of young Krishna, will recall the Indian putana: ” female demon, is well known for her attempt to kill the infant Krishna by offering him milk from her poisoned breast” (from http://www.britannica.com).
Interesting? Could there possibly be a connection here? Any etymological scholars?