The British in colonial India heard Muslims chanting "Yā Hussain! Yā Hassan!" (a reference to Hussain ibn Ali, brother of Hasan ibn Ali) during the Mourning of Muharram, and approximated it as "Hobson-Jobson", which became a term referring to the similar derivation of an English equivalent for a foreign-language words by adapting English words or names that have a superficial resemblance in sound.
- Yule & Burnell, 419
- Sir Henry Yule; Arthur Coke Burnell (1903). "HOBSON-JOBSON". In Crooke, William (ed.). Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive (The University of Michigan ed.). J. Murray. p. 419. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
It is in fact an Anglo-Saxon version of the wailings of the Mahommedans as they beat their breasts in the procession of the Moharram -- "Yā Hasan! Yā Hosain!' It is to be remembered that these observances are in India by no means confined to Shī'as. Except at Lucknow and Murshīdābād, the great majority of Mahommedans in that country are professed Sunnis.
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