The Devanagari script is an abugida used in India to express languages like Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, and more. The word for the script itself is Sanskrit, and comes from the words deva, meaning "divine", and nagari, meaning "abode" or "city". The idea was that a writing system was something "relating to a city" or based on something "spoken in cities", and this was just a better version of the pre-existing Nagari script. Deva, through Proto-Indo-Iranian daywas, comes from the Proto-Indo-European root dyew, meaning "to be bright" (that's also the source of words such as deity, diva, jovial, adieu, and sojourn). Nagari, meanwhile, possibly comes from the unattested compound nrgara, meaning "gathering of men" and coming from nr, which meant "men", and gara, "gathering". It could also ultimately be Dravidian in origin: it's also been compared to Telugu nagaru, meaning "palace".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.