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Title: Tatpurusha  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Sanskrit, Shiva, Bahuvrihi, Vedic Sanskrit grammar
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


In Sanskrit grammar a tatpuruṣa (तत्पुरुष) compound is a dependent determinative compound, i.e. a compound XY meaning a type of Y which is related to X in a way corresponding to one of the grammatical cases of X.

There are many tatpuruṣas (one for each noun case, and a few others besides); in a tatpuruṣa, one component is related to another. For example, "doghouse" is a dative compound, a house for a dog. It would be called a caturthī-tatpuruṣa (caturthī refers to the fourth case — that is, the dative). The most frequent kind is the genitive tatpuruṣa. Examples are:-

  • jaya-prepsu = "victory-desiring". (accusative)
  • varşa-bhogya = "year - going to be enjoyed" = "to be enjoyed for a year" (adjective). (accusative)
  • deva-datta = "god-given" = "given by the gods". (instrumental)
  • viṣņu-bali = "Vishnu-offering" = "offering to Vishnu". (dative)
  • svarga-patita = "heaven-fallen" = "fallen from heaven". (ablative)
  • tat-puruṣa = "that-man" in the sense of "that person's man". (genitive)
  • vyāghra-buddhi = "tiger-thought" = "thought of it being a tiger". (genitive)
  • yajur-veda = "sacrifice-knowledge" = "the knowledge of sacrifice", and the name of part of the Vedas. (genitive)
  • rudrākṣa = rudra-akṣa = "Rudra-eye" = "the eye of Rudra". (genitive)
  • raja-putra = "king-son" = "son of a king". (genitive)
  • gŗha-jata = "house-born" = "born in the house". (locative)
  • pūrvāhņa-kŗta = "morning-done" = "done in the morning". (locative)

The word "tatpuruṣa" is an example of the type: see in the list above.

  • caturthī-tatpuruṣa = "which is dative and a tatpuruṣa". (nominative), but a nominative tatpuruṣa is classed as a karmadhāraya.

Note: in Vedic Sanskrit rájaputra is a bahuvrihi and means "having a king as a son", and rajapútra is a tatpuruṣa and means "king's son": notice where the Vedic udātta accent is.


  • W. D. Whitney, Sanskrit Grammar: Including both the Classical Language and the Older Dialects

See also

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