15 Commonly Used Indian Words That Are Included In The Oxford English Dictionary

8:00 am 7 Apr, 2018


We Indians have certain words that we love using on a daily basis. We use popular desi terms and slangs because they make us feel connected to our culture and to each other. Oxford English Dictionary has recognized some of these terms and has added them to its vocabulary. The dictionary is updated four times a year in order to add new words.



In the September 2017 update, 70 commonly used Indian words have been added to the dictionary. This is not the first time Indian terms have found their way to the prestigious dictionary. A lot of Indian words, based on the globally popular Indian foods, have been accepted by the Oxford English Dictionary.


Here are few of the most popular words that have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary:


1. Dhabha


The dictionary explains the term as a noun: “In India or in Indian context: a roadside food stall or restaurant”.


2. Bhelpuri


A popular Indian street food, the dictionary describes it as: “An Indian dish of puffed rice, onions, spices and hot chutney”.

3. Jugaad


Every Indian is known to have completed a job using ‘jugaad’. The dictionary defines it as: “a flexible approach to problem-solving that uses limited resources in an innovative way.”


4. Gulab Jamun


Who doesn’t love ‘Gulab Jamun’. The dictionary describes it as: “An Indian sweet consisting of a ball of deep-fried paneer boiled in sugar syrup”.

5. Masala


Grounded, dried or soaked, the spices or ‘masalas’ are very important ingredients of Indian foods. The dictionary explains the term as: “a mixture of ground spices used in Indian cooking”.


6. Natak


The dictionary describes it as: “a drama or dramatic act”. It is true, indeed.


7. Badmaash


True to its Hindi meaning, the dictionary describes it as: “a dishonest or unprincipled man.”


8. Aiyo


Aiyo is an expressive term that can explain a range of expressions. The dictionary describes it as: “In Southern India and Sri Lanka, expressing distress, regret, or grief; Oh no! Or Oh! Dear!”


9. Yaar


A research suggests that ‘yaar’ was first used in the English language in 1983. In the dictionary, the Hindi word means: “A familiar form of address, friend, mate”.


10. Chamcha


Do you also have a ‘chamcha’ to do your jobs? The dictionary describes the colloquial Indian word as: “an obsequious person”.

11. Puri


Derived from Sanskrit language, the dictionary describes the word as: “a small, round piece of bread made of unleavened wheat flour, deep-fried and served with meat or vegetables”.


12. Dadagiri



Described as: “Intimidating, coercive or bullying behavior” in the dictionary, the popular Hindi word is used to describe the actions of a villain in popular Bollywood films.


13. Didi


The Hindi word is used to address the elder sister in India. The dictionary describes the word as: “an old sister or older female cousin”.


14. Chutney


From Gordon Ramsey to Jamie Oliver, everyone has tasted a spoonful of chutney. The dictionary describes the word as: “a spicy condiment of Indian origin, made of fruits or vegetables with vinegar, spices and sugar”.


15. Aadhaar

The first ever Oxford Dictionary Hindi Word of the Year, Aadhaar is described as: “a 12-digit identification number assigned to all residents of India”. It won the title due to the rise in its popularity during the year.


Interesting, isn’t it?! What other Indian words you find fascinating in the Oxford English Dictionary?

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