18 English Words That Are Actually Borrowed From The Hindi Language

English is widely spoken and the most popular language across the globe. One of the reasons to become English a Global Language is that its openness to receive words from other languages and use them as English words.

Many Indian words are being added to the Oxford Dictionary every year. Among so many Indian words that have been added to the English vocabulary list, we have chosen 18 English words that are actually taken from the Hindi language.

Go through the list of those 18 words and learn the background of why and how they are added into the list of the English vocabulary.

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18 English Words That Are Actually Borrowed From The Hindi Language



Verandah

Since there were no verandahs in England because of its cold weather, the word never existed in English before the British interaction with India, where almost every house had one, usually for the family to enjoy the breeze on hot days.

Jungle

Derived from the Hindi word jangal meaning a wild wasteland, it was used by English settlers in India to refer to any wild, untended or uncultivated land, including sparsely wooded scrub landscapes and tangled forest landscapes, overgrown with dense vegetation.

Bandana

The English fashion dictionary borrowed the word bandana from two Hindi words - badhnu, which describes the process of tie-and-dye through which large handkerchiefs with vibrant, distinctive designs were made, and bandhana meaning to tie something up.


Chit

Chit has its origins in chitthi, a Hindi word for a letter or post. In the olden days, letters were a way to practice critical reading, self-expressive writing and also exchange ideas with like-minded others in India.

Pyjama

Broken down, "pay" means leg and “jama” means clothing, thus referring to a pair of comfortable, loose and lightweight trousers fitted with drawstring waistbands.

Juggernaut

Something that is very large and unstoppable, this word has its roots in the fascinating Jagannath Yatra - a religious procession in Puri in Orissa where a giant carriage carries the image of Lord Jagannath, and which devotees are said to have sometimes thrown themselves under.


Cashmere

Meaning the fabric spun from the fine downy wool of the cashmere goat. The word cashmere is an old spelling of Kashmir as pronounced in Hindi, the state where these shaggy goats were once found in abundance.

Thug

A descendent of the Hindi word thag, meaning a thief or a swindler, it entered the English language early in the 19th century. The thags were organized bands of notorious thieves, robbers, and conmen who would travel across India, befriending travellers on the way before looting and killing them.

Chutney

Essentially a Hindi word - chattni means ‘to lick' and denotes a pickled condiment made from fruit, vinegar, spices and sugar. The word Chutney entered the English language in the 19th century when the British started exporting their favourite chutneys to their colonies in Australia and North America.

Bangles

The word bangle in English means a rigid bracelet, usually made from metal, wood, or plastic. It is derived from the Hindi word bangri which originally meant the coloured glass ring ornaments worn on the wrist by Indian women.

Shampoo

The word is derived from the Hindi word champo, meaning to squeeze, knead or massage. In Britain, the term and concept were introduced by a Bengali trader, Sheikh Dean Mohammad, who, along with his wife, opened a shampooing bath in Brighton in 1814.

Punch

The English word punch originates from 'paanch' in Hindi, meaning 'five, because of the five ingredients used in it-spirit/soda, sugar, lemon, water and tea/spices.

Cot

The English word for a light bedstead, cot, seems to have been derived from the words 'khat' and 'khatwa', Hindi words for bed. These ‘khats' were traditionally made of jute and wood as the charpoys in Indian homes for people to relax in the open or sleep under the stars.

Loot

The word derives from the Hindi word 'lut', meaning to plunder or steal, which until the 18th century was hardly used outside north India. The English word loot came to mean to ransack somebody, to steal from someone, or whatever is stolen by the act of looting.

Bungalow

Used initially in 17th century Bengal to describe the single storey homes built for early British settlers, the English term bungalow originally derives from the Hindi word 'bangla' which meant houses constructed in the style of Bengal.

Cushy

Meaning relaxed, comfortable or easy in English, the word cushy stems from 'khushi', the Hindi term for ‘happiness'. It is said to have entered the English language through British Army slang around the time of the First World War.

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Ganja

This term for marijuana comes from the Hindi word gānjhā. The 1st Duke of Wellington, who later defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, used the word in a dispatch dated 1800. The word “marijuana” didn't enter English for another 74 years.

Dinghy

The word was derived from the Hindi word dingi or dingiya that was used for small rowing boats that travelled through the sheltered waters of Indian rivers and along the Indian coasts to fish and to transport passengers and freight in the olden days.

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