The recent Sewell report on Race and Ethnic Disparities has been much abused and little read. It is full of interesting suggestions, however. One, emphasising the shared history of modern Britain, is to compile ‘a dictionary or lexicon of well-known British words which are Indian in origin’. Actually, such a work already exists. It is called Hobson-Jobson, ‘a glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological, historical, geographical and discursive’. Edited by Colonel Henry Yule, Royal Engineers, and Dr A.C. Burnell, of the Madras Civil Service, it was completed in 1886. It is a large, fascinating book, half an hour in whose company is never wasted. Well-known words that feature include atoll, avatar and ‘a muck’ (which we nowadays spell ‘amok’, and was not, say the editors, originally Malay); bamboo, bangle and bazaar; caddy, candy and cash; and so on down the alphabet.