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Commonly used Hindi words in the Oxford English Dictionary

Common Indian words that were so popularly used that they now are part of the Oxford English Dictionary

The abundance in our world

Our world is abundant. Abundant with people, cultures, flora, fauna and abundant with languages.  Languages are based out of geographies, religion, cultures and even the comparatively new trend of a “lingo” shared by the generation Z across the globe.

India, Indians and Hindi

India is the second most populous country and Hindi is the fourth most spoken language in the world with more than 615 million people conversing in it. 

Indians have excelled globally in numerous fields be it for better education, business opportunities or work. They are everywhere and from centuries ago, Indians have made a mark in any field they set their hands upon. Such is their influence, that Hindi has had a lasting impression in countries where Indians have found an effective presence. It is interesting to note that Hindi has a substantial presence in countries like the USA, the UK, Trinidad, Tobago, Nepal, Uganda, New Zealand, Germany and Singapore. Not just these, it is also among the top three official languages in South Africa and the UAE while almost being native to Mauritius.

The Hindi movie industry being among the world’s top favorites and the largest in terms of the number of films produced each year too has had a major role in popularizing the Hindi language around the world.

Hindi words in the Oxford English Dictionary

A thick textbook with Hindi alphabets flying out of it

Hence it is not surprising that the tenth edition of the OED printed in 2020 now has 384 Indian/Hindi words in it. Let us take a look at a few. 


the system of issuing a unique identification number to every individual residing in India


a large building divided into many separate apartments offering cheap accommodation


a container with a meal


an occasion when all shops are closed as a protest


a wedding or marriage 


trousers that are loose above the knee and tight from the knee to the ankle


a small house


a platform with an open front and a roof


a warehouse


a large piece of cloth worn by a woman around the head


an old fashioned small meal especially lunch


a piece of jewellery in the form of a large ring 


to steal things from a shop or building after a fire, riot etc


an area of tropical forest where trees and plants grow very thickly


loose jacket and trousers worn in bed

Atmanirbharta: Hindi Word of the Year, 2020

small girl holding black slate with Atmanirbharta written on it

Oxford Languages chose ‘Atmanirbharta’ which means self-reliance, as their ‘Hindi Word of the Year-2020’ as it "validated the day-to-day achievements of the countless Indians who dealt with and survived the perils of a pandemic”. The 'Hindi Word of the Year' that are chosen reflect the ethos and essense of the passing year, as they could become terms or phrases of lasting cultural significance.

The 'Hindi Word of the Year' 2019 was 'Samvidhan' which means constitution.

The OED panel behind this award has been of the unanimous opinion that Indians have a highly specific vocabulary with no direct equivalent in English and hence it is rather the need of the English speaking community to validate such words and make them one of their own.

In the words of one of the OED panelists for shortlisting such words, ‘The four centuries that the English were present in India have left an indelible mark on the language. It is clear that the shared history between Britain and India has left behind a legacy of loanwords that have greatly enriched the English word stock.’
(The meanings of all the Indian words in the English dictionary mentioned are exactly as explained in the OED).

Kannada proverbs with meaning in English

How many of these Kannada proverbs do you know?

Proverbs represent the oldest and multigenerational collective wisdom packed in a few words …

Divyavani sanskrit, sanskrit divas, significance of sanskrit, cover image

Divyavani: Sanskrit the divine language

Read this article in English

दिव्यवाणी संस्कृत 

ज्ञान पिपासुयों के लिए ये शोध का विषय …