10 English Words That Mean Different In India | POPxo

10 English Words That Have A *Different* Meaning In India

Amrita Paul

Junior Lifestyle Editor

There is British English, American English and of course Indian English which is a delightful mix of the Queen’s language and vernacular slangs which find their way in - often to produce hilarious results. Here are 10 English words that have a completely different meaning in India.


1. Mugging


In common parlance, mugging denotes an act of attacking and robbing someone in a public place. In India, it just means memorizing your class notes to a point where you feel your brain is going to explode.


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2. Rubber


To the whole world, rubber is made of the material polymer and can stretch or shrink. It can also imply a condom. But to us, Indians, it is an eraser which we have repeatedly used to remove and rewrite our notes and hit our classmates indiscriminately.


3. Change


Change implies transforming or becoming different. In India it just is loose cash or as we’d say, chillar.


4. Nacho


The English-speaking world knows it as the Mexican dish of tortilla chips topped with melted cheese and often also with other savoury toppings. In India, we just use it an excuse to break into a song and dance.


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5. Line


A line ideally means a long, narrow mark or band. In our country, line maarna is flirting or eyeing with someone we fancy.   


6. Auto


The dictionary will tell you that this word denotes a device working by itself with little or no direct human control. But in India it is synonymous to a three-wheeled vehicle which literally never runs on a meter.

7. Chiller


A refrigerator where you can keep perishables artificially cool. For us, this word has multiple meanings. It could be mean a some change (see 3) aka chillar or a person who is just inherently chilled out, or just the cheapest ice-lolly we could buy near our schools.


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8. Flames


The dictionary describes flames as a hot glowing body of ignited gas that is generated by something on fire. In India, it is the full-proof way to find out which crush of yours, you are going to grow up and marry.   


9. Boards


A board is a long, thin, flat piece of wood or other hard material, used for floors or other building purposes. But for Indians that is the most singularly important time of our lives, our board exams… Until we land a great first job and marry the boy we have forever fancied.


10. Tuition


Especially in the US, tuition implies a sum of money charged for teaching by a college or university. In India, it is just an excuse to have a child learn a single subject under at least two or three teachers.

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GIFs: Giphy, Tumblr

Published on May 25, 2017
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