List of English words of Hindi or Urdu origin

This is a list of English-language words of Hindi and Urdu origin, two distinguished registers of the Hindustani language. Many of the Hindi and Urdu equivalents have originated from Sanskrit; see List of English words of Sanskrit origin. Many others are of Persian origin; see List of English words of Persian origin. Some of the latter are in turn of Arabic or Turkic origin. In some cases words have entered the English language by multiple routes - occasionally ending up with different meanings, spellings, or pronunciations, just as with words with European etymologies. Many entered English during the British Raj. These borrowings, dating back to the colonial period, are often labeled as "Anglo-Indian".


From Hindi inherited from Sanskrit अवतार (avatāra), "to cross down" referring to the descent of a deity from a heaven.
from Hindi, Urdu, and Sanskrit ālū .


from bandhna (بندھنا/बांधना) to tie.
from bāngṛī बांगड़ी, a type of bracelet.
"Britain" (as a term of endearment among British troops stationed in Colonial India): from Hindi-Urdu vilāyatī (विलायती, ولايتى) "foreign", ultimately from Arabo-Persian ولايتي "provincial, regional".
from बंगला bangla and Urdu بنگلہ bangla, literally, "(house) in the Bengal style".[1]


from Hindi: चार/Urdu: چار, romanizedcār, lit.'four' and पाई/پائی, pāʼī, 'legged, foot'.[2][3]
from Hindustani cāṭ.
from chītā, چیتا, चीता, meaning "variegated".
from Hindustani چھتری / छतरी (chatrī, “umbrella, canopy”).
from چٹھی चिट्ठी chitthi, a letter or note.
from 'chaṭnī', چٹنی, चटनी, ultimately derived from full-infinitive word 'chāṭnā', چاٹنا, चाटना, meaning 'to lick'.
from khāṭ, खाट, a bed.
from chokath, چوکھٹ / चौखट, a door frame.
ultimately from Persian via Hindi-Urdu कमरबन्द/کمربند, kamarband, – from kamar 'waist, loins' and -bandi 'band'.[4][5]
from Hindi-Urdu ख़ुशी/خوشی, k͟hushī, 'pleasure', from Persian خوش ḵuš.[6][7] Some sources prefer an origin from "cushion"[8]


from Daku, meaning a member of a class of criminals who engage in organized robbery and murder. Hence also dacoity (banditry)
(UK slang for 'a look') from دیکھو देखो Dekho, the imperative 'look', (دیکھو देखो) meaning look at or study something.
from Dinghi, small boat, wherry-boat
Heavy denim fabric, also referring to trousers made thereof, from Hindi डूंगरी (ḍūṅgrī, “coarse calico”), first worn by labourers in the Dongri area of Mumbai (Bombay).


Hindi term for marijuana. Popularized by Jamaica after Indian indentured labourers introduced the plant to the island during the 19th century.[9]
Garam masala
from Hindi गरम मसाला and Urdu گرم مصالحہ garam masālā, literally "hot ( = spicy) mixture",[10] from Persian گرم garm 'warm, hot' and Arabic مصالح maṣāliḥ 'benefits, requirements, ingredients'.
from Hindustani ghaṛiyāl,گھڑیال / घड़ियाल, ultimately derived from the Sanskrit word घण्टिक.
from Hindi guru "teacher, priest," from Sanskrit गुरु guru "one to be honored, teacher," literally "heavy, weighty."[11]
A term which originally referred to a place where sporting events take place and referred to any of various meets at which contests were held to test the skill of the competitors. In English-speaking countries, a gymkhana refers to a multi-game equestrian event performed to display the training and talents of horses and their rider [-khānā from Pers. khānāh خانه "house, dwelling"]


modification of Sanskrit jagannaath, from Jagannath Puri, India, where such cloth was first made.[12]
Full-length trousers, worn for horseback riding, that are close-fitting below the knee, flared and roomy at the thigh, and have reinforced patches on the inside of the leg. Named after Jodhpur, where similar garments are worn by Indian men as part of everyday dress.
from Jagannath (Sanskrit: जगन्नाथ jagannātha, Odia: ଜଗନ୍ନାଥ jagannātha), a form of Vishnu particularly worshipped at the Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha where during Rath Yatra festival thousands of devotees pull three temple carts some 14m (45 feet) tall, weighing hundreds of tons through the streets. These carts seat three statues of the deities, meant to be two brothers and their sister for a 'stroll' outside after the ritual worship session. They are fed by thousands and thousands of worshipers with holy food, as if the icons were living. Early European visitors witnessed these festivals and returned with—possibly apocryphal—reports of religious fanatics committing suicide by throwing themselves under the wheels of the carts. So the word became a metaphor for something immense and unstoppable because of institutional or physical inertia; or impending catastrophe that is foreseeable yet virtually unavoidable because of such inertia.
from the Sanskrit word जङ्गल jaṅgala, and later jangal in Hindi as जंगल and Urdu as جنگل. Jaṅgala means "uncultivated land" which refers to the wilderness or forest.


from ख़ाकी khākī "of dust colour, dusty, grey", cf. Hindi ख़ाकी - Urdu خاکی [ultimately from Persian].
from Sanskrit, the result of a person's actions as well as the actions themselves. It is a term about the cycle of cause and effect.
from Hindi खिचड़ी, Kedgeree is thought to have originated with the Indian rice-and-bean or rice-and-lentil dish khichri, traced back to 1340 or earlier.


from Loot لوٹ लूट, meaning 'steal'. Robbery


from Multan, Pakistan: A kind of rug prevalent there.[13]
from Hindi and Urdu: An acknowledged leader in a field, from the Mughal rulers of India like Akbar and Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj Mahal.
from Hindi and Sanskrit: A great king.
from Hindi and Sanskrit: a word or phrase used in meditation.
from Urdu, to refer to Indian flavoured spices


(in Jainism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism) a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Jainism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism.


from Hindi पश्मीना, Urdu پشمينه, ultimately from Persian پشمينه.
from Hindi and Urdu panch پانچ, meaning "five". The drink was originally made with five ingredients: alcohol, sugar, lemon, water, and tea or spices.[14][15] The original drink was named paantsch.
from पण्डित Pandit, meaning a learned scholar or Priest.
(UK slang: "genuine") from Pakkā पक्का, پکا cooked, ripe, solid.
from Hindi-Urdu पर्दा, پردہ Pardah (ultimately from Persian) meaning 'the pre-election period'.[16][17][18][19][20]
from Hindi and Urdu, پاجامہ / पाजामा (paijaamaa), meaning "leg garment", coined from Persian پاى "foot, leg" and جامه "garment" .[21]


from Hindi and Urdu रायता رائتہ rayta.[22] yogurt based dish, some add sliced/chopped/diced, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, pineapples, pomegranate or other salads to complement rice or roti meals.
from Hindi and Urdu रॊटी روٹی roti "bread"; akin to Prakrit रॊट्ट rotta "rice flour", Sanskrit रोटिका rotika "kind of bread".[23]


Sepoy is derived from the Persian word sepāhī (سپاہی) meaning "infantry soldier" and was designated as a rank in the Mughal Army. The title and rank were implemented by the East India Company and later the British Raj. The term continues to be used for noncommissioned ranks in the Indian and Pakistani and Nepalese militaries.
Derived from Hindustani chāmpo (चाँपो [tʃãːpoː]) (verb imperative, meaning "rub!"), dating to 1762.[24]


from charpoy चारपाई,چارپائی Teen payi (तीन पाय) in Hindi-Urdu, meaning "three legged" or "coffee table".[25]
from Thagi ठग,ٹھگ Thag in Hindi-Urdu, meaning "thief or con man".[26]
possibly from Hindi ठीक है, बाबू (ṭhīk hai, bābū), meaning "it's all right, sir".[27]
Toddy (also Hot toddy)
from Tārī ताड़ी, juice of the palmyra palm.[28]
from Urdu طوفان toofaan.[29] A cyclonic storm.


from Hindustani baramdaa برآمدہ / बरामदा, but ultimately from Portuguese.[30][31]


A colloquial South Asian word, it has been defined as a noun to refer to a ‘familiar form of address: friend, mate’. It is originally a loanword from Persian یار (yār). The first known use of yaar in English was in 1963.[32]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Merriam Webster Online - Bungalow
  2. ^ "Charpoy". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-11-13.
  3. ^ "charpoy". Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  4. ^ "Cummerbund". Lexico UK English Dictionary UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-11-13.
  5. ^ "cummerbund". Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  6. ^ "Cushy". Lexico UK English Dictionary UK English Dictionary UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2021. Archived from the original on May 6, 2021.
  7. ^ "cushy". Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  8. ^ "cushy"., which says it is "Based on the Random House Dictionary"
  9. ^ "10 Words From Hindi & Urdu". Merriam-Webster. Archived from the original on 15 April 2019. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  10. ^ Merriam-Webster Unabridged - Garam Masaalaa[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "guru". Online Etymological Dictionary. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  12. ^ Merriam-Webster Unabridged - Jaconet
  13. ^ Merriam-Webster Unabridged - Multan
  14. ^ Loanwords
  15. ^ Punch at the Online Etymology Dictionary
  16. ^ "Purdah". Encyclopædia Britannica. 9 May 2008. purdah, also spelled Pardah, Hindi Parda ("screen," or "veil"), practice that was inaugurated by Muslims and later adopted by various Hindus, especially in India, and that involves the seclusion of women from public observation by means of concealing clothing (including the veil) and by the use of high-walled enclosures, screens, and curtains within the home.
  17. ^ Raheja, Gloria Goodwin; Gold, Ann Grodzins (29 April 1994). Listen to the Heron's Words: Reimagining Gender and Kinship in North India. University of California Press. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-520-08371-4. The literal meaning of "purdah" is, as already noted, "a curtain." In rural Rajasthan for a woman to observe purdah (in Hindi, pardā rakhnā, "to keep purdah"; pardā karnā, "to do purdah") usually includes these behavioral components, adhered to with highly varying degrees of strictness: in her marital village she doesn't leave the house, and she veils her face in front of all strangers and certain categories of male kin.
  18. ^ Strulik, Stefanie (2014). Politics Embedded: Women's Quota and Local Democracy. Negotiating Gender Relations in North India. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 50. ISBN 978-3-643-80163-0. Purdah in Urdu/Hindi ltierally means "curtain". Today, in Hindi it is used for both: in the literal sense for curtain and to refer to a system of seclusion and concealment of the body in the name of "respect" towards (male) elder (fictive and blood-related) family members and is construed as fundamental to maintaining family "honour".
  19. ^ Doane, Mary Ann (18 October 2021). Bigger Than Life: The Close-Up and Scale in the Cinema. Duke University Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-1-4780-2178-0. In this respect, it is very interesting to note that the term "purdah," designating the veil worn over a woman's face in certain Islamic societies, is derived from the Hindi and Urdu "parda," meaning "screen," "curtain," or "veil."
  20. ^ "Purdah". Lehigh University. 15 December 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2022. (Hindustani) Seclusion. "Purdah" literally means curtain or veil. In the Indian context it referred to women kept secluded from public life.
  21. ^ Dictionary Meaning: Pajama; TheFreeDictionary; Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Encyclopedia
  22. ^ Merriam-Webster Unabridged - Raita
  23. ^ Merriam-Webster Unabridged - Roti
  24. ^ "shampoo".
  25. ^ "teapoy". Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  26. ^ "thug". Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  27. ^ "Tickety-boo". World Wide Words.
  28. ^ Harper, Douglas. "toddy". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  29. ^ Harper, Douglas. "typhoon". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  30. ^ "veranda". Lexico UK English Dictionary UK English Dictionary UK English Dictionary UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2021. Archived from the original on February 26, 2020.
  31. ^ Harper, Douglas. "veranda". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  32. ^ "'Aiyo'! Did You Know These 12 Indian Words Are Now a Part of the Oxford Dictionary?". 9 January 2017.

External linksEdit