Bong Names From Around the World
Pass the pipe. Who has a "piece"? There are so many names and types of devices that people use to smoke out of. One of the most common names is a water pipe or 'bong' to describe a type of pipe that uses air and water to filter and cool smoke. Also, there are variations of a standard bong like a gravity bong and double chamber. These are fairly standard names of these smoking devices in the US that a majority of people may know, but what about other places in the world?
Where Does the Term "Bong" Originate?
First off, where does the word 'bong' itself come from? Its origin is thought to be from Thailand for the Thai word 'baung', which refers to a cylindrical pipe or tube cut from bamboo. One of the earliest recorded uses of the word in the West is in the McFarland Thai-English Dictionary, published in 1944, which describes one of the meanings of ‘bong’ in the Thai language as, “a bamboo water pipe”. Do people in the UK say 'bong'? What about in Jamaica? Here are some global names for these water pipes.
Cross-Cultural Names for "Bong"
A 'bubbler' is the name for a small water pipe device that is compact a popular for travel. It does everything a big bong does, but it is much smaller. This is one of the newer names for these devices that has surfaced with modern culture.
In India a clay pipe is called a 'chillum'. Many sadhus and professional young adults use these devices to smoke their favorite products out of. It had died out in popularity but has seen a resurgence and using a chillum is the classic way to enjoy smoking.
A 'chalice' is a common name for a water pipe used in Jamaica. It typically has a water chamber and a draw tube or hose to inhale smoke from. This is popular among the Rastafari culture and youth in Jamaica. The name 'chalice' also has biblical roots as well.
Often we hear the word 'hookah' when referring to a water pipe bong, but this is somewhat a different device, though it is an old pipe and possibly the origin of the modern bong. A hookah is indeed a water pipe that can be smoked from 1 or several hoses connected to the main body, but tends to remain in its own category of pipes and will not typically be found where more modern 'bongs' are sold. This pipe in particular is likely one of the original devices from which today's modern water pipes originate.
Many names for these devices exist in the world. They all typically refer to a water pipe that has a chamber filled with water, a mouth piece and a bowl for smoking the product. Glass art pipes became popular in the 1990's and 2000's. This expanded the vocabulary of these pipes and added some new devices. It is fun to find out about the origins and different cultures that exist with the water pipe at the center of different subcultures devoted to smoking.