10 English Words You Didn't Know Were of Indian Origin

India’s fascinating culture and history have been shaped up by its various rulers and colonisers like the Mughals, the Portuguese, French and the British. But what we have failed to realize is India has influenced these rulers right back. Our British Raj or our colonial hangover is still apparent in today's society. And through the English language, the relationship between Britain and India is clearly visible.

Here are 10 English words you didn’t know were of Indian Origin.


Originated from the Hindi word Champo, which means to squeeze, knead or massage. This goes all the way back when Indian servants massaged their British master’s heads with oils and natural cleansers thereby coining this term.

2. Coir

This is just a blatant mispronunciation of the Tamil word for rope- Kayir.

3. Catamaran

This English word for multi-hulled watercraft is a combination of two Tamil words Kattu-Maram.

4. Loot

Used as a noun to describe the items gained by pillaging, or as a verb to refer to the act of stealing or ransacking, the commonly used English term loot finds its roots in the Hindi word lut, which means to plunder or steal.

5. Avatar

It originated from the Sanskrit word Avatarana. Though the literal meaning is to descent, it can be interpreted as reincarnation or an icon.

6. Juggernaut

Juggernaut,  in English, means 'a huge, powerful, and overwhelming force' takes its inspiration from Lord Jagannath of Puri whose idol is paraded through the streets of Puri, Odisha, in a chariot.

7. Bangles

Bangles come from the Hindi word bangri. It first appeared in English usage in the 1780s.

8. Thug

Next time you share a Thug life meme, remember it originated from the Hindi word Thag referring to a thief or cheat.

9. Mangoose

It is the English name for the carnivorous animal that kills venomous snakes named from Mangus, the Marathi word for the same creature.

10. Bungalow

Bungalow derives from the Hindi word Bangla, which refers to 'a type of cottage built for early European settlers in Bengal'.

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Written By - Adarsh Krishnaa V

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