A GLOSSARY OF
HINDUSTANI - URDU - HINDI
words to be found in Kipling's works

by Michael Smith


A B C D E F G H I J K L

M N O P R S T U V W Y Z



A

aftaba water pot with spout and handle
achcha, accha all right? , good
admi (cu.aadmi) man, men
aiste slowly
Allah kerim! Allah be merciful!
almirah wardrobe, chest of drawers
Angrezi English
anna one sixteenth of a rupee
ap (cu. aap} polite form of “thou” (used to equals or superiors)
archarji (cu.acharyaji) teacher, priest
arre Oh!
asil calm
asli nahin not real
atta flour
ayah nurse-maid, or lady's maid

B

babu (1) Hindu gentleman (respectful), (2) Hindu merchant or Clerk (derogatory)
Babuji term of respect and friendliness
babul thorny mimosa with aromatic yellow flowers
badmash (cu.budmaash) rascal
Badshah King
bagh garden
bakshish gratuity, hence “buckshee"= free (Army sl)
Bahadur honorific title, lit. “brave”
Bahkshikhana Pay Office
bahut accha very good
(cu. bahoot achcha)
baitoe (cu.bhaitoh) sit, wait
baja musical instrument
balushai sweetmeat
bander-log monkey people
(pr.”logue”)
bandobast organisation
bap (cu.baap) father
barasingh Kashmiri red deer (lit. 12 horns
bashaw lord or master
bat (cu.baat) speech, talk. Language
bat words, matter (pr. “bart”)
batcha child
bazugar acrobat, tumbler
Belait anywhere foreign but to British troops it meant England
Belaiti English or European (hence “Blighty”)
bhai / by brother
bhang (pr. bhung) expensive drug derived from hemp
bhils marshes or ponds
bhisti water-carrier orig. “man of Heaven”
bohin / bahen sister (pr.”bain”)
(cu. bahain)
boli speech
bhoosa hay, also sawdust
bukh talk
bukhshi army paymaster (?)
bul-bul nightingale
burra important, great, large
bundobast, bandobast agreement, arrangement
burruf / barf ice
bursat (cu.barsaat) rains (monsoon)
bus enough, finish (usually said twice)
bus hogia finished, ended
bunnia money-lender, or corn merchant
bund embankment
bundook rifle, shotgun
bustees flimsy huts, squatter colony
butcha,batcha child, infant
buts Buddhist images
byle ox or bullock

C

caster discharged Army horse
chabuk whip
chae tea
(char=Army sl)
challan consignment
chamar of low caste/
from “chumra” a shoemaker
chandu opium
chaprassie uniformed office messenger
charpoi string framed bed
chatti earthen pot, porous to keep water cool
chela young disciple, orig. household slave
chik slatted blind
chil, (cu.cheel) a kite (bird)
chillam a hookah
chirag clay lamp
chit, (cu.chitty) note, letter/promissory note
chiton dress
choga loose upper garment
choop,chup silent, still
chor thief
chota small
chota hazri early morning tea/ breakfast
chowki toll or police station (hence sl.“chokey”)
chowkidar watchman,guard
chubara, chubutra garden pavilion
chudder veil in front of a woman's face
chunam lime, plaster
chuppar thatch
chuprassi messenger
(pr.”chaprassi”)
chumars, low caste leather-workers
(see chamar)
chhut-ti/chuti,chhuti leave, dismissal
cicalas cicadas
coolie, cooly hired labourer
consumah 10 million

D

dacoit armed robber
dak post, mail, journey
Dak bungalow rest house
dandy Himalayan hammock like litter
darogah village constable
dasturi commission on a transaction
degchies cooking utensils
dekko to look
deodar coniferous tree, sacred to Hindus (Cedrus deodara)
dewanee madness
dewas Godlike image
dharzee/durzee tailor
dhoti loincloth
dhow single-masted Arab sailing vessel
dil heart
din religion, also day
Diwan Chief Minister
diwan type of sofa
Do two
doab land between two rivers
dom low caste cleaner
dooli bamboo stretcher, light palanquin
doomb fat-tailed sheep
duftar office
dun flat area in hills
Durbar public audience
durwan gate-keeper
durwaza door
durwaza bund door shut (not at home)
dushman enemy
dustoorie “commission” payment

E

ek one
ek dum at once, immediately
ekka/ecka a small one-horse carriage

F

fakir religious beggars
farash carpet-layer
fareib fraud / trick
ferao scarlet woodpecker
ferash date tree

G

Ganga / Gunga River Ganges
gariwan driver
also ghariwala
ghat, ghaut landing steps on a riverbank, also mountain pass
ghee clarified butter for use in cooking
ghora horse
ghur, (cu.ghar) house
ghuzul bath
ghuzulkhana bathroom
goglet cattle-driver
gram pulse for horse feed
gurrum hot
guru leader/teacher/holy man

H

Hakim doctor or judge
Hajii one who has made pilgrimage to Mecca
haramzada scoundrel
hathi elephant
hazri breakfast
Hazur/Huzoor Your Excellency
hitherao come here!
hooka/hookah pipe for smoking through water/ alt: hubble-bibble
hookum order / command
hoondi bill of exchange
howdah framed seat carried by an elephant
hubshi orig..Ethiopian/negro
hulwaies confectioners
humara my, mine
hushiar clever, intelligent

I

iswasti for this reason
izzut, (cu izzat) honour

J

jadoo magic/sorcery/black art
jaghirdar landowner
jaldi / juldi / juldee “quickly”
jaldi karo “do it quickly”
jampannie rickshaw puller or sedan chair carrier
janwer, (cu,janwar) animal
jao “Go”! (rude!)
jaroo broom
jehad Holy-War
Jehanum hell
Jemadar leader /Second rank of native officer
jemadar-sais head groom
jezail Afghan long-barrelled rifle, fired from a forked rest
jharan duster / dish cloth
jheel/ jhil swamp or lake
jhool horse blanket

K

kabab skewered meat
kabarri second-hand furniture shop
kaddoo pumpkin
Kaiser-I-Hind Empress of India
kala black
kala juggah dark corner, “sitting-out” alcove
kala pani black water (to leave India)
kam work
kamra room
kanats canvas enclosures
karo do
kazi Muslim law officer
ke- marfik in this manner
kench, (cu.khainch) “pull” !
khajur date (fruit)
kerani a writer
khana food/ meal
khansama/ consumah House-steward / chief table servant
kheyl clan or tribe
khitmagar/ kitmutgar table servant
khitab book (or title)
khiwasti ? how ?
khoota. (cu.kutta) dog
khoti house
Khrishna Hindu God
khubber news
khubber kharkuz newspaper
khubbi ever
khubbi nahin never
khud precipitous slope
khushi nice, pleasant (hence sl.“cushy”)
kichree kedgeree
kilta basket container
kitna? "how many, how much?”
koi hai? is anyone there?
koil, (cu.kooyal) singing bird
Koran the holy book of Islam
kos a distance of about two miles
krait small brown/grey venomous snake
kubberdar, take care/ look out!
(cu.khabbardar)
kukri Gurkha knife
kul tomorrow or ! yesterday
kutcha of poor quality/ second class
Kutcherry court-house

L

lal red
lakh 100,000
Lala title of respect for a Hindu
lama a Tibetan word for a religious superior
langur a long haired monkey
lao bring (imperative)
lon red powder
lotah brass pot
larai war or battle
lathi 5’ bamboo stick, metal tipped
lunkah cheroot

M

machan a bamboo platform for shooting from
madrissah school / college
maharaj honorific form of address
Maharaja Ruler of an Indian State
mahout elephant driver
mahseer a game fish
Mai Ganga Mother Ganges
maidan park or open space
mali, malli gardener
Malik tribal headman
maro / marrow a deliberate hit
massala spice mixture
massalchi dish-washer
matranee, (cu.mehtranee) wife of a sweeper
maulvie learned man
maund a weight (80 lbs)
mehrbani please
mehtar a sweeper, but in origin – a Prince
mela festival
Memsahib Sahib’s lady
Mian Muslim title of respect
Minars minarets
mistri carpenter / mason
mofussil country districts
motamid lawyer’s clerk
muchli fish in general
muezzin Muslim caller to prayer
mullah Moslem religious teacher
munhi prayer
munshi clerk/ language teacher
munsiff low grade Native judge
mussuck,masak goatskin water-bag
musth madness, distemper of elephants
mut drunk
mut don’t
mynah Indian starling which can mimic

N

nag snake
nahin no
naib deputy
naik corporal
nat juggler
nauker-log servants (pr.”logue”)
naulakha nine lakhs
Naulahka, The “the nine-lakh necklace”
nautch formal dance display
nickle-jao “get out!”
nimbu lime
nimbu pani lime juice
nol-kol kohl-rabi
nukshan, (cu.nuksaan) injury, damage, destruction
nullah bed of watercourse, usually dry
numdah a felt rug
nuzzer ceremonial gifts

O

octroi Municipal tax
“Om mane padme hum” an incantation meaning “the jewel is in the lotus flower”
oont camel
ooplah dried cow-dung for fuel

P

pagri see “puggaree”
pahari hillman
palanquin litter carried on the shoulders of four men
pan, (cu,paan) folded betel leaf containing other ingrediants for chewing
panch five
pani water
pechi, (cu.peechay) behind, at the back
peg measure of spirit, usually whisky
pice, paisa 1/12th of an anna, gen. Money
pipal fig-tree
poshteen Afghan fur lined coat
puggaree turban worn by servants, also cloth band around topee
pukka first class, proper, orig. “cooked” and so – “thorough”
pummeloe large citrus fruit
pundit a learned man, (later specifically referring to native surveyors working beyond the border in the '[great game'
Punjab Land of the Five Rivers (panch = 5)
punkah a suspended, swinging fan
purdah curtain, veil, seclusion of women
purdahnashin take to the veil
pyjammas pair of loose trousers tied round the waist

R

rabi crops sown after the rains
raj rule
Rajah ruler
rajbahar main irrigation channel
raj-mistri head carpenter/mason
Ranee wife of a Rajah, Princess
rath enclosure wall
reh salty, barren soil
rezai a quilt
Rissaldar native captain in a Cavalry regiment
rupee standard unit of currency
ryot tenant farmer, peasant

S

Sahib “sir”, “master”
sais, syce horse groom
Salaam a salutation – peace
Salaam alaikum Peace be unto you
sambhur large deer
samp, sanp snake
sari women’s dress
seer unit of weight (2lbs)
sepoy native private soldier
serai stable, or a caravanserai
shabash well done, bravo
shaitan Satan, devil
shamiana tent
sher a tiger
shikar a hunting expedition
shikari professional hunter
shroff moneylender
sirkar government
simpkin corruption of "champagne"
sinnit braided cord
sitar Indian stringed instrument
sowah, (cu.sawah) mounted orderly
stunt assistant (Collector)
stupas buddhist monuments
Subadar the most senior native officer in a company of Sepoys
sub chiz everything
sudder chief,,main
sungar stone breastwork
sunnyasi Hindu religious mendicant
suttee ritual of widow-burning

T

takkus tax (probably derived from Indian pronunciation of the English word 'tax')
taleb Pay
tamasha a show, excitement
tambo tambourine
tar, (cu.taar) telegram, literally "wire"
tat country bred pony
tatties screens kept wet for coolness
teapoy, teapoi small tripod table
teen three
tehisldar native tax-collector
terai wide-brimmed hat, probably an Anglo-Indian colloquialism
thana jail, police station
thano pull (imperative)
thug member of gang of murdering robbers
thugee practice of the thugs
ticca gharri hired four-wheel carriage
tiercel male falcon
tiffin lunch
tik hai?, (cu.thik hai?) all right?
tikkah ornamental mark on forehead
tonga two wheeled carriage
tulwar a large curved sword
tum thou, you (used to inferiors)
tunda,(cu.thunda) cold

U

uttr, (cu.attar) perfume

V

vakil lawyer
Vedas sacred writing of the Hindus
Vinar, (cu.veena) string sitar like instrument resting on two gourds

W

wallah suffix – person e.g. Tonga-wallah
wuh that one
wullie-wa a spiral of blown snow – probably derived from a sailor’s expression for a violent squall

Y

yaboos breed of small, hardy Afghan horse
yogi an ascetic

Z

Zamindar / Zemindar land owner
Zennana women’s quarters



Notes:
Pr.= pronunciation
Sl.= slang
Cu.= near current spelling
Orig.= originally.