10 Indian Phrases That We Should Have In English 

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1. Kabab mai Hadi- That Doesn’t Belong There!:

Imagine, you’re on a date but for some reason, your friend has decided to tag along. You try and try but simply cannot get rid of him. And to make matters worse, you bite into your seekh kebab and smash a tooth on a tiny bone in the meat. “That doesn’t belong there!You say to yourself, and realize that your friend doesn’t belong there either. He’s also a bone in the kebab. That’s how you use “bone in the kebab”.

2. Tauba- May That Not Happen

Tauba means “may that not happenand is said as a way of warding off evil and bad luck. For example, if we are about to board an aeroplane and I say “I think the plane is going to crash” then someone else might say “tauba tauba”. It’s like “knock on wood” but without the frustrating search for wood! 

3. Masti- Mischief

downloadImage Source: greasve

Masti means mischief but is used very flexibly. If you are up to something, you might say that you are doing masti. Or, if kids are goofing around, you would describe them as doing masti. Masti can also mean fun, though. Generally, masti does not have the same negative connotation that mischief has in English.

4. Yaar- Dude

Yaar means “dudebut I’ve included it in this list only because it is so much more pleasing to the ear than a simple American “dude”. If you watch a couple of modern Bollywood films, you’re going to hear yaar quite a few times before the end. It’s a great way to practice the pronunciation!

5. Dimaag ka dahi kar diya- My Brain Has Turned Into Yogurt!

yogurt-nedirImage Source: Harbiyiyorum

You are trying to explain some difficult concept to someone who is clearly uninterested or just not listening. You would declare “dimaag ka kahi kar diya”, which means that you are so frustrated that your brain has turned into yogurt.

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6. Keema- To Chop Something Out

Sikhs wield swords during their clash inside the complex of the holy Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple, in AmritsarImage Source: RT

“Make keema out of it” is a saying heard a great deal in my house, especially when my uncle is visiting. It means to finely chop or mince something. Keema itself is also a minced lamb dish, but you can “make keemaout of anything including onions, garlic – anything that can be chopped. Moreover, you can use it as a threat: “I will make keema out of you!”

7. Pet mein daadi hona- The Baby Has A Mustache

mustache_baby_1Image Source: Parentsociety

We all know someone like this – he knows everything, and never seems to need help with anything. It literally means that the person had a mustache when he was conceived – a colourful way of saying someone is precocious.

8. Chup- Someone Is Going to Be Slapped

slap2Image Source: Scoopwhop

Chup is a word that can strike fear into the hearts of many. It means “slap” and is generally used to indicate that someone is going to be slapped. What’s lovely about this word is that the way it sounds when spoken is very similar to the noise made when someone is slapped. Be wary of anyone saying “chup!” and walking towards you!

 9. Tandoor- Oven

66edda1fedbe4d57040786a8b3a862d136dbd401_w800_h600_ctrue_pfalse_pc255_255_255Image Source: Tafel

This is a little tongue in cheek, but we need more than just the word tandoor in English. Tandoor is a large round oven used to cook kebabs, naan, and many other foods. Not only do we need a word for tandoor in English, we need tandoors in American cooking! They produce the most lovely, lightly charred meats and breads imaginable. Next to man’s grills should be a tandoor.

10. Garam- Hot And Spicy

Exotic-and-Delish-Chicken-Curry-Recipes-760x428Image Source: Zliving

Garam means hot and spicy. Whereas in English there is always a little confusion when describing a dish as “hot,” garam negates this ambiguity by making the words equivalent. In a sense, a spicy dish creates the same feeling on your tongue that a hot dish does. This word makes conversations over what food is spicy much clearer.


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