British Council lists 70 Indian-origin words

New Delhi: Words like pashmina, dal, chutney and pyjamas form part of a list of 70 Indian origin words included in the Oxford English Dictionary unveiled by the British Council here on Thursday as part of its 70th anniversary in India. The English cultural-educational organisation unveiled the list to highlight “the proximity and understanding between the two nations”, a statement from the Council said.

The occasion highlighted how the English language has evolved with the words of Indian origin, with some words dating back to the pre-independence period while many were added recently, including those like bhelpuri and churidar, it added.
Pointing to the “many points of connection over the centuries in which people, ideas, language, goods and services have moved between Britain and India”, the British Council India Director Alan Gemmell said the 70 words are a “momentary reminder of the layers of connection and fluid nature of the English language”.

“For the cashmere we drape and pyjamas we sleep in; the bangles we wear; the shampoo that cleans our hair; the cheetahs we watch whose speed we admire; and, the curry and kedgeree we might eat on a verandah — we thank the rich languages of India, and the people who have mixed and shared over the generations of those last 400 years,” he said. Some of the words, the Council said, will be reimagined visually through 14 illustrations by the UK and Indian artists. All 70 words can be accessed online at

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