What is Chuma?

Initially, I got the name “chuma” from one of my favourite books, The Day is Born of Darkness. According to that book, chuma is a Russian term for “an incorrigible tall-tale teller.”

Up until June 2000, that’s what I thought it had meant. Then I got a random e-mail message from a Russian guy by the name of Alexander Nickolsky who told me what “chuma” actually means (apparently):

Just FYI:
‘chumovoy’ is an adjective. It’s from ‘chuma’ – lit. plague, in slang exclamation ‘chuma !’ can be translated as ‘wild’, or ‘cool’ or more precisely – ‘unbeliveable’, ‘fantastic’
used for expression of admiration of something Example

  • I’ve got a new Pentium III 800 Mhz
  • Chuma !
So there could be ‘chumovoy tall-tale teller’ Note that ‘chumovoy’ is derived exactly and only from the slang meaning of ‘chuma’ and is not connected with the primary meaning of ‘plague’.

And in February 2001 I got this message from Ecuador:

Hi just to let you know that chuma in our native lenguage Quicua means drunkeness. Chumado = drunk person and Chuma is when you are very drunk.. So when I saw your web site I thought that its was a tribute site for drunk people.

And at the end of March 2001, a former acquaintance told me that “chuma” means kiss in Hindi. Any Hindi-speakers out there care to corroborate this for me?

And in August 2001 I got this e-mail from Canada, but about the Swahili meaning:

Just to let you know that “chuma” as a noun it means “iron” or “steel” in Swahili. As a verb “chuma” means “pick”, like picking fruits from their trees. And in general, “chuma”, again as a verb, it means to look for wealth or sustainance. It is from that word that the Swahili word “uchumi” (economy) was derived.

June 2002 saw yet another meaning, from JP at Dharma-Dog:

I was noticing in my web logs a number of people searching on the term “chuma”.

My dog’s name is Chuma Chatti, taken from the Hindi to mean “Kisses & Caresses”.


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