This paper focuses on the etymology of Indo-Iranian words for camphor, particularly on Skt. karpūra-, briefly referring also to Gr. κέρβερος ‘Cerberus’. I argue that this form (of non-Indo-European origin) was modified due to secondary re-etymologization under a group of phonetically similar words with partly similar meanings (‘spotted, dappled’ etc.), some of which may refer to cheetah.