Hindi Language Blog

Hindi words in the Oxford English Dictionary Posted by on Dec 24, 2017 in Hindi Language

At the latest count 70 words from Indian languages were included in the Oxford English dictionary (OED). These add to the already whopping number of 900 words of Indian origin, that have earned a permanent place in the OED, the first word being क़िला qila  which was adopted in 1761. Note that क़िला is borrowed from Urdu.

The history of English in India and Indian words in the OED is complex and fascinating. If you’d like to know more about the inclusion of Indian language words in the OED, you can read more here, in Release Notes: Indian English written by OED World Languages Editor Danica Salazar.

Let’s now look at some Hindi words in the OED as well as English words used in an Indian context, and see how they are used in daily Hindi conversation.
क़िला qilafort/fortress
जुगाड़ jugaadinnovative solution; in slang, it also means to take a risk and try to overcome a problem
बापु bapufather; Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was known as "बापु " or "father of the nation."
गली gullynarrow alleyway
महा mahagreat; महा is often added as a prefix to indicate that something is of great proportions. For ex: महा offer/sale means a sale of gigantic proportions with huge discounts.
नमकीन namkeensalty; it's also used to denote savory snacks. For ex: "Chai aur namkeen" is a common teatime tradition.
टाइम पास time-passactivities (not always of value or use) indulged in as a means of killing time.
भवनbhavanhouse, mansion, building, structure.
भिंडी bhindiokra, also known as ladies finger in India
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About the Author: Nitya

Namaste, friends. My name is Nitya. I was born and raised in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). I'm a native Hindi speaker. However, as life took me through school, college, work, and waves of friends from different parts of India, my repertoire of Hindi flavors and dialects grew and added dimension to my native fluency. Casual, formal, colloquial, and regional ... Hindi is a language with incredible variety and localization. Through this blog, I will help you learn Hindi through conversations, vocabulary, colloquialisms, and glimpses of Indian culture. आओ, मिलकर हिंदी सीखते हैं। (Aao, milkar Hindi seekhte hain!) Come, let's learn Hindi together.