We, the Urduwallahs, have often wondered about the origin of certain words we frequently use, in our everyday life – E.g. Biradar in Urdu means brother (biradari is your brotherhood / community), which is very close to its English equivalent ‘brother’, in pronunciation and sound. Similarly, the word ‘behtar’ which means and sounds like ‘better’, in English.
Blighty, meaning homeland, is from the Urdu ‘bilayti’, meaning foreign. Urdu also provided kushi, which in time became cushy – comfortable or pleasant. A wallah, identifying a soldier with a specific task, came from the Hindi prefix vala, meaning doer. Hindustan gave us shufti – to look around, or go on a reconnaissance. French words were corrupted or abbreviated, so reconnaissance became recce, while vin blanc – sold by every roadside cafe – emerged as plonk.
We welcome you to add any words you can think of, to this list.
shakil warsi said:
“aastan” is one more word, used in Urdu meaning ‘home’ or place, (e.g. Gulistan ) is derived from Sanskirit word ‘sthaan’ which has the same meaning..Urdu embraced many words from different languages, and that makes it beautiful.
Mr shah said:
Urdu from hurdu Turkic for horde( army) became the lashkari language & refined into what we have today as Urdu.