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 ...




There are deluded people in every culture

There are self centred deluded people in every culture who think that the world revolves around them and their culture, and that their culture/language alone are the source of all other cultures.

We see this in the "Israel in Yemen" quasi-theories, and likewise, there are Hindus who think that Arabia was Hindu in pre-Islamic times, and Islam supplanted that and suppressed that "glorious" Hindu history.

For example, see this 8 part article titled: Vedic Past of Pre-Islamic Arabia. At first glance it seems that it is well researched and full of compelling evidence. However it does not stand up to the slightest scrutiny.

Yeah, Muslims do think that world revolve around Earth.

I have talked to many a muslims. (Literate ones cause illiterates generally don't have any point to argue about) and believe me they still think the whole world revolves around their Holy Book. In this fit Muslims have destroyed numerous cultures, religions, people and their naive languages.
And, they were so happy in doing such heinous act they also recorded it in various chronicals with praise to allah, these chronicals and biographys are still available to us.

The claim that pre islamic arabia was a vedic civilization is a part of controversy but: his is sure that the place was inhabited by polytheists and idol worshipers. There are some rituals in mecca surprisingly similar to vedic worship. Is it a co incidence.
Some, Hindus also mention poet Kalidasa who wrote about a mythical king Vikramaditya who is supposed to attack on Malechcha people in far west of India. This was all happened before even Islam was invented.
Well, my point is before making any comment to others one must look at oneself. Arab never got much of respect atleast in India throughout History, don't know about other cultures opinion. For us they were invaders, wrongdoers and hate mongers.They also learnt many things from Hindus, re-engineered and spread to the world with their tag. Eg. Number system is original invention of India not arabic but still the whole world knows it as Arabic numerals.
The worst is when they invade they killed many a people as if we were not humans. They destroyed our education system and centers blaming it s anti Islamic. This devastated indian as cultural center and transformed it as a slave country.
Indians don't have any continuous slave culture. But Muslims forced this slave Master culture.

Today, as you see, Arab has prominently has two contribution to the civilized world.
1. Petroleum, there is nothing ingenuine
2. Terrorism, yeah definately muslim traits.

Your bigotry

Your bigotry is self-evident ... And you are just deriving your bigotry from a narrative of historical victimization.

This is exactly the combination that leads to extremism and terrorism: Look at ISIS' narrative of occupation and victimization, it is the same.

Historically ISIS and Caliphate are same

There is a proverb in Hindi which means Truth does not need stick to stand.
Same is applied here, what Muslims have done and what are they doing now is not hidden. If I continue to bring more facts to you you will always reject them with your false or out of context arguments cause as a muslim you are in denial mode and will always be. We face this everyday here, and will continue to face as long as secular exist in India. Gandhi did the same mistake and did not address Islamic problem which resulted in division of India. And a permanent problem like Pakistan and bangladesh.

My objective is clear I do not have to argue with someone who is in denial mode and do not or darenot see things without prejudice.

Boy try to understand, why the major non muslim countries are turning into nationalist countries.

Get help ...

You should really get help. See a psychiatrist for this victimization syndrome that you are in.

Homo Language

Language is the only different side of humans. Being a man is communicating well. Since mankind migrated from Africa to Arabia and Asia, it's important to follow Arabic and African routes of words. I am surprised by time, life universe etc. genaral words. It seems, in spite of distence, we take our words to worlds.


Sir, With all due respect your keen conservation about oour language hindi is good but I would also like to add here that many words as you stated above are related to arabic - yes but they are urdu.. Not exactly hindi.

Few examples I would like to put here as:

waqt = وقت = time - In hindi its 'Samay'
admi = آدمي = human being - In hindi its 'Insaan'
leken = لكن = but - In hindi its 'Kintu'
aql = عقل = mind, intellect - In hindi its ' Dimag'
hayat = life - In hindi its 'Zindagi'

Now these words that you have mentioned waqt, admi, leken are frequently by Hindus as well because of the long traditions of this vast culture of India. Undoubtedly the best example of brotherhood.

It also has long tradition of Mughal Rule "who were originally from Afghanistan." They were here for nearly 500 years so the usage of these words became prominent.

However, the post is really a learning experience. Thank you.

Some are Arabic ...

Some of these are still Arabic ...

Specifically, Insaan, and Dimag. I added them above to the list.


Thanks, I added them.

All are Arabic, except for the last one, which I don't recognize at all. Perhaps Persian.