Definition of wallah
: a person who is associated with a particular work or who performs a specific duty or service —usually used in combination <the book wallah was an itinerant peddler — George Orwell>
Did You Know?
Wallah comes from the Hindi suffix -vālā, meaning "one in charge." Like its Hindi counterpart, "wallah" is commonly used in combination with other nouns. The first use of "wallah" appeared as "lootywallah" in a narrative penned by Officer Innes Munro describing his time deployed on the Coromandel Coast of India in the 1780s. "Looty," or "lootie," was a noun sometimes applied to a member of a band of marauders or robbers. In the narrative, Munro used the term to describe looting cavalrymen. In current writing, "wallah" is typically accompanied by words like "office" or "marketing."
Origin and Etymology of wallah
Hindi & Urdu -vālā one in charge, from Sanskrit pāla protector, from pālayati, pārayati he guards; akin to Sanskrit piparti he brings over, saves, Old English faran to go — more at fare
First Known Use: 1782
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up wallah? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).