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Expand Your Vocabulary: Indian and Pakistani Words in English

Updated: Apr 26

a man and a woman from India are dancing in a field of wheat
Indian couple dancing


Other blog articles have been about Spanish and French words found in English. Native English speakers recognise and use them often.

In this article, I will introduce you to Hindi (Indian) and Urdu (Pakistan) words that you will find in English. In this way, you will expand your vocabulary.

The words are in alphabetical order. The meaning follows each word. And I will include the word's original spelling and origin.

So, let's begin.

Hindi and Urdu Words in English - to expand your vocabulary

avatar - an incarnation; a representation of a person or being (comes from avatara).

Avatars are a feature of peoples' personal social media profiles. There is a well-known movie of the same name.

bandana - a head scarf (comes from the words badhnu and baandhana)

bangle - a bracelet (comes from bamgri)

bungalow - a type of house (comes from bangla)

calico - a cloth made of cotton which usually has a colorful pattern printed on it. It originates from Calicut, the town in India where people made this fabric.

cashmere - the fine wool from a particular type of goat. It comes from Kashmir, the place where these goats abound.

chit - a slip of paper; a voucher (comes from chitthi)

chutney - a pickled fruit condiment that’s sweet, spicy and tangy (comes from chatṭni)

cot - a portable bed, the name for a small child's bed. (comes from khats)

cummerbund - a piece of material worn around the waist (comes from kamarband)

cushy - means soft, or easy. Outcomes gained from minimal effort are 'cushy'. (from khusi)

She has a very cushy job. She doesn't do much work but makes a lot of money.

dinghy - a small boat (comes from dinghi)

dungarees - pants made of a heavy denim fabric (comes from dungri)

guru - a teacher or spiritual guide (comes from guruh)

juggernaut - a powerful force or institution. A juggernaut can be overwhelming (from jagannāth)

jungle - a forest or wilderness (from jaṅgal)

karma - results from a person’s actions. As the consequences of actions , there is good and bad karma. (comes from karman)

khaki - a grayish tan color; a type of cotton fabric (from khākī), military uniforms are sometimes this colour.

loot - to steal, often during a riot, war or following a disaster (from luṭ)

punch - the beverage, made from different juices or other flavored drinks (from paanch)

pundit - subject matter expert who shares opinions with the public (from pandit)

pajamas - clothing worn to sleep in with a separate top and bottom (from pāyjāma)

shampoo - hair shampoo cleans your hair, also carpet shampoo (from champo, cāmpnā),


thug - a thief, trickster, often violent (comes from thag)

typhoon - a strong wind like a cyclone or hurricane that forms in either the Indian or Pacific oceans. (from tufan, also from Chinese tai fong)

veranda - a covered ground-level courtyard or patio (from baraṇḍā and barāmdā)

yoga - spiritual practice involving postures and deep breathing taught by a yogi. The practice of yoga provides meditation, relaxation and fitness. (comes from yujir and yuj)


I hope you have enjoyed this selection of Hindi and Urdu words.

In everyday English, they are common.

I hope the article has helped develop and expand your English vocabulary.

Please feel free to let me know of any other words you know or of any errors or omissions in the above list.

Further Reading

In this article, I explain why it is important for your general improvement in English to expand your vocabulary in other areas and topics of interest.

© Apex English Tutoring Jan 2023 - Updated January 2024

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About Me

Hello and welcome!

My name is Michael Finemore and I am the owner-operator of Apex English Tutoring.

As an experienced English Teacher, I'm passionate about helping people turn their 'poor' English into great English, with easy and effective ways to practice.

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