10 English Words That Are Actually Hindi Words!

10 English Words That Are Actually Hindi Words!

Did you know — because the British ruled over India for so long — many Hindi words were adopted into the English language. And we still use these words today!

Here are a few, but there are SO many more. There is even a whole dictionary (Hobson Jobson Dictionary) dedicated to these and other similar words 😊.

Some of them are very surprising -- and most of them your kids are probably already using!


Here are 10 English words that are actually from Hindi:

1. Pajama

Your kids probably say this word every night! As many South Asians and Desis will know, the word pajama comes from "pajama kurta." Word has it, the British loved how comfortable this garment was, they popularized it all around the world.

2. Shampoo

Derived from the Hindi word "champo," which is a traditional head/body massage with herbs and fragrance. Very similar to the way we use the word today! 

3. Jungle

No explanation needed for this one! This word stems from the Persian word (which has lots of similarities with Hindi/Urdu) Jangal and the Sanskrit word Jangala. Bring this up next time child acts "jungli"! 

4. Bandana

"To tie" in Hindi is "baandhna" and this is precisely where the word "bandana" came from. You tie it around your neck, so bandana!

5. Cushy (as in comfy or cozy)

This one was the most unexpected! The word "Cushy" originated from the Hindi  word "khushi" which means happiness. And that is exactly how you feel when you live a "cushy" life, right?

6. Bungalow

From the Hindi/Urdu word "bangla" which means a particular kind of house, the word bungalow was adopted by the British who ruled India, to describe small, cottage-like homes with sloping roofs. 

7. Khaki

From the Hindi/Urdu word "khakee" which means dust-colored, this word was originally used by British colonialists in India to refer to the "dust-colored" cloth used for soldier uniforms. Since then, it has become the word for all "dust-colored" pants, jumpsuits, shirts around the world!

8. Punch (The Drink)

The first punch drink came from India where they combine 5 ("paanch" in Hindi) ingredients 1. water 2. alcohol 3. sugar 4. lemon/lime 5. spice. This was a common drink for British soldiers, who then adopted it into English.

9. Damn

Even though this is a bad word in English now, it didn't start out that way! The word "damn" originated from the word "damri" -- a currency coin from India, with a very low value. Over time, if people didn't care about something, they would say -"I don't give a dam," which then turned into "damn". Interesting right?

10. Bangle

Derived from the Hindi (and Gujarati) word "bangRi," the word bangle still sounds very similar in English. Unlike the bracelet, the bangle is something worn on your wrist that is sturdy and rigid. It is often made from hard material like wood, metal or plastic.


Here are some bonus words that are also English words derived from Hindi.

1. Bazaar - In Hindi and Persian, this means a collection of stores, and it means the same in English!

2. Verandah - a long porch! The word came to English from Hindi, but originated from Portuguese.

3. Loot - from the Hindi word "lootna" which means to steal.