bak·​sheesh | \ ˈbak-ˌshēsh How to pronounce baksheesh (audio) , bak-ˈshēsh \

Definition of baksheesh

: payment (such as a tip or bribe) to expedite service

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British subjects traveling abroad in the 17th century likely picked up baksheesh in Asia, where they would have heard the term used to mean "gratuity, a present of money, tip"—a meaning they directly adopted. Etymologically speaking, baksheesh is from Persian bakhshīsh, which is also the source of the word buckshee, meaning "something extra obtained free," "extra rations," or "windfall, gratuity." Buckshee never made it across the pond to the U.S., and is strictly used in British English.

Examples of baksheesh in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In Cairo baksheesh is the simplest way to cut through the airport’s tangle of red tape. The Economist, 29 June 2019 Mr. Trump was a chieftain demonstrating his potency with a flourish of baksheesh. James Poniewozik, New York Times, 9 Mar. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'baksheesh.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of baksheesh

1686, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for baksheesh

Persian bakhshīsh, from bakhshīdan to give; akin to Greek phagein to eat, Sanskrit bhajati he allots

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The first known use of baksheesh was in 1686

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Cite this Entry

“Baksheesh.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

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