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.