Akaṭa or akata, which is the correct word? (In CPED)


I found two words with almost the same definition in the dictionary, I am not sure if they are two different words, an error or alternative spelling.

Thank you.

It’s the same word, just spelled a little differently.

In such cases, a little knowledge of the Sanskrit form can be helpful. It’s akṛta. Notice how the t is preceded by an ? This is dropped in Pali, but it’s as if its influence is still felt. In such cases in Pali, the adjacent consonant often wavers between dental (t, d, etc.) and retroflex (, , etc.).


Thank you Bhante.

So, since it is the same word, they should have the same meaning en the CEPD, correct?

I found other cases like this and they also have different meanings listed.

Well, the given meanings are the same, they are just listed as different entries. But I agree, it would be better to simply list such cases as variant spellings of the same word rather than in separate entries.


You may be thinking of the sandhi rule that r/ṛ causes n > ṇ. This rule doesn’t apply to t. The Sanskrit is kṛta not kṛṭa (and saṃskṛta rather than saṃskṛṭa).

The regular Pāḷi form of the passive past participle (ppp) is definitely kata. The preponderance of use in the suttas favours kata over kaṭa. E.g. akataṃ 105, akaṭaṃ 0. Similarly in the Vinaya, 69 : 0 in favour of akataṃ.

The question then becomes, why is there a minority spelling with retroflexion?

In her dictionary Margaret Cone seems to have the same thought. She gives kata as the ppp, listed under karoti, and has a separate entry for kaṭa (in 3 senses). Her note for kaṭa (3) reads “found especially (in compounds) in Vin and dialect of heretics.”

The Critical Pali Dictionary, s.v. kaṭa (2) lists " prakr. kaḍa" i.e. that there is a Prakrit form where t > ḍ (which also happens in Gāndhāri where e.g. karoti > karoḍi).

This all suggests that kaṭa may be a feature of another dialect that creeps in from time to time.

So we can confidently say that akata is the correct Pali form. If you were composing something in Pali you would definitely chose this spelling. But be aware that akaṭa occurs from time to time, especially in compounds, with the same meaning (perhaps as a way of marking the speaker as foreign).