Hindi words of Arabic origin

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Hindi words of Arabic origin

Having worked with many people from India and Pakistan in the 1990s, I was often fascinated by words that sounded Arabic in origin. When asking about the meaning, they were indeed Arabic. And I could detect more words in the few Hindi Bollywood movies that I have seen as well.

Arabic influence on Hindi may have been via several avenues. One was via Farsi (Persian) as an intermediate, having been the language of the court for the Mughal emperors. Another was through Muslim scholars using these words from Arabic texts and they made their way into the vernacular.

Whatever the avenues are, here are some words that I did recognize, with the Arabic spelling and Arabic meaning, which the Hindi derives from, but may deviate somewhat from.

waqt = وقت = time
admi = آدمي = human being
insaan = انسان = human being
takriban = تقريبا = approximately, almost
leken = لكن = but
shaitan = شيطان = devil, satan
mabhoom = مبهوم = hidden, unknown future event
shukriya = شكر = thank you, not an exact copy, "ya" is added
khabar = خبر = news item
akhbar = اخبار = plural of above
ajab = عجب = wonder, strange occurrence
ajib = عجيب = strange, derived from above root
ajaib = عجايب = plural of ajab, same root. Punjabi/Sikh name
aql = عقل = mind, intellect
dimag = دماغ = intellect in Hindi, though the Arabic word could mean "head", "skull", and "brain" as well
azam = عظم = great
azmat = عظمة = greatness, derived from above root
silsila = سلسلة = chain, Hindi = series of events
mushkil = مشكل = problem, unclear
hal = حال = condition, state
mahabat = محبة = love
kharab = خراب = destruction
bilkol = بالكل = "all of it", derives from كل
ya3ni = يعني = which means, meaning, also a "conversation filler"
intezar = انتظار = waiting for
mohtaram = محترم = respected
mukarram = مكرم = from كرم karam, generosity
sahib = صاحب = companion, friend, used as Mister in Hindi
adab = آداب = good manners
adat = عادات = customs
aynak = عين = from eye (ain), means spectacles in Hindi
akhir = آخر = the end
alam = عالم = universe
alim = عالم = scholar, scientist, learned person
asal = أصل = origin
asali = أصلي = original
ashiq = عاشق = lover
aziz = عزيز = dear
filhal = فى الحال = currently, at the moment
marhoom = مرحوم = is often used when referring to people who have passed on not unlike allah yarhamuh. Same usage as in rural Egypt
kalam = كلام = speech, especially the words of a poet
qalam = قلم = pen
kursi = كرسي = chair
ijazat = اجازة = permission
hayat = حياة = life
Ishq = عشق = deep love, extreme passion
saltanat = سلطنة = kingdom
qubul = قبول = agree
matlab = مطلب = concern, meaning
mashhoor = مشهور = famous, known
hirasat = حراسة = guarding
khass = خاص = special, distinct
takleef = تكليف = orders given, mission
dunya = دنيا = world

There are also words that are what language teachers call "false friends" :

gharib (غريب), for example, usually means poor and not "strange, foreign" though it can also mean the latter in certain contexts, e.g. عجيب و غريب.

This is not unlike in the Middle East where gharib also means "stranger, foreigner, wanderer, someone with unknown origin/domicile".

There is also a Hindi/Urdu to English dictionary which allows input in Arabic characters.

Thanks to Junaid Quadri for the additions.

If you know some more words in Hindi that are Arabic, please post them below in the comments ...

WOW! What a great and

WOW! What a great and interesting analysis of language. It is great to know that both Hindi and Urdu languages have many words that are originated from Arabic.

About this site.

Really appreciate this site. Words are of same spellings and have different meanings. Maybe known as antonyms and synonyms.


It's only Hinidi words that have Arabic origins there are also many English and french words that have Arabic origins which proves how great really is!

Big Applause

This reminds me of my school days when we had to do a project on finding Hindi words from Arabic origin. This list would have helped me a lot ...

This reminds me of my school

This reminds me of my school days when we had to do a project on finding Hindi words from Arabic origin. This list would have helped me a lot ..

Nice list

actually, hindi/urdu language consists of more foreign words then its own. It includes majority of words form Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Punjabi and many other regional languages. Our pages will end if we start making list of all the arabic words used in hindi and urdu.

Hi, It was nice to read about

Hi, It was nice to read about the Arabic connection to Hindi. I'm an Indian in Thailand. I read quite a few blogs by Arabs and this one is amazing. Quite a good linguistic analysis of the two Languages. I was wondering if you are a linguist or have studied languages.

Bahasa Indonesia

This is very interesting. Arabic words seem to have made their way into many languages, including that of my own country, Indonesia. In Bahasa Indonesia, Arabic words are so common it seems that we do not notice them any more, and just assume they are native Indonesian words, instead of foreign 'loan' words. This brief article ahs really opened my eyes. many thanks to the author!

But Arabic was born from sanskrit

I agree that these words are from Arabic but all the other languages like Arabic and Urdu are derived from Sanskrit. The oldest language. So the title should be Hindi words of Sanskrit origin.

Arabic is not from Sanskrit,

Arabic is not from Sanskrit, they're not even in the same language family.

Arabic is Afro-Asiatic, whilst Sanskrit is Indo-European, not even remotely related to one another.