Heard in India (Part 1: A to M)

I recently found another glossary of words in a book, this time about the British in India, and I wondered how many of them my regular blog readers – and particularly those who read the FLASHMAN novels – knew. The glossary was quite long and so I have split into two parts. It is interesting to note how many of the words are now in common usage in English.

(Please note that yet again this is not a proper quiz and there is no prize for who knows the most words! It is intended to be a bit of mental exercise with which to start the New Year.)

  • Abdar
  • Alkalak
  • Angrezi Raj
  • Anna
  • Atchan
  • Ayah
  • Baba
  • Baba log
  • Baboo (or Babu)
  • Badmash
  • Badshah
  • Bakhsheesh
  • Bahadur
  • Bandobast (or Bundobast)
  • Bandook (or Bundock)
  • Banya (or Buniah)
  • Barkandaze
  • Basan (or Basunta)
  • Begum
  • Beyla
  • Bhang
  • Bhagwan Jhanda
  • Bhat
  • Bhisti (or Bishti)
  • Bibighar
  • Bilaitee
  • Bowrie
  • Brahman
  • Bungalow
  • Bunnia
  • Burquha (or Burqua, Burkha, Bourkha, or Burka)
  • Chai
  • Chapattis (or Chupattis)
  • Chaprassi
  • Chapplis
  • Char or Cha
  • Charpoy
  • Chick
  • Chirag
  • Chit
  • Chittak
  • Chota
  • Chowkiedar
  • Coorta
  • Cutcherry (or Kutcheri)
  • Dacoit
  • Dai
  • Dak
  • Darzee (or Darzi or Derzi)
  • Dharma
  • Dhobie
  • Dhobie Wallah
  • Dholli
  • Dhoti
  • Dhoolie
  • Doad
  • Dogra
  • Duffadar
  • Duffadar Major
  • Durbar
  • Dustoori
  • Fakir
  • Feringhee
  • Gerbauchs
  • Ghadi
  • Gharry (or Ghari)
  • Ghat
  • Ghazi
  • Ghora Wallah
  • Gingal (or Jingal)
  • Golundaz
  • Gonda
  • Goojur
  • Goomtasha
  • Guru
  • Hafiz
  • Halwi
  • Havildar
  • Havildar Major
  • Hookah
  • Hookah burdwar
  • Howdah
  • Hurkara
  • Imam
  • Jang dida
  • Jangli
  • Jat
  • Jellabi
  • Jemadar
  • Jheel
  • Juldi (or Juldee)
  • Kala Pani
  • Kansama
  • Kalakasi
  • Khitmagar
  • Khotwal (or Kotwal)
  • Khud
  • Kit (or Khit)
  • Kootub (or Kutub)
  • Koss
  • Kot Duffadar
  • Ksatriya
  • Kurta
  • Lakh
  • Lascar
  • Lat
  • Loot
  • Lotah
  • Maidan
  • Maharajah
  • Mahout
  • Mall
  • Maulvi
  • Maund
  • Memsahib
  • Mistry
  • Mleccha
  • Mofussil
  • Mohur
  • Muezzin
  • Mufti
  • Mullah
  • Muggar
  • Munshi

4 Comments on “Heard in India (Part 1: A to M)”

  1. Arthur says:

    Hi Bob

    We eat chapatti's in East Africa, too.

    In fact, as it is basically an unleavened bread, it is eaten all round the world.

    It's delicious crispy (no oil) with honey, yummy.


  2. Out of about 120 I could answer (more or less) a bit over a third of them (I counted 45). I recognised a few others but don't recall their meanings. Mind you, some of my answer were a bit vague 'sepoy military rank' for daffadar and havildar, for example. I think they are all NCO ranks, and some might be more associated with this or that arm, but I don't recall.

  3. Arthur,

    I must admit to have a bit of a liking for them myself!

    All the best,


  4. Archduke Piccolo,

    You are doing well … and are right about the native ranks. Each branch (infantry and cavalry) had different names for similar ranks, and some were Native officers who ranked below even the most junior British officers even though their real function within a unit was equivalent to that of a much higher rank.

    My father served in India, and I picked up a bit of 'army Hindi' as a child. When I was told to 'juldi and get my 'dhobie' ready, I knew what to do!

    All the best,


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