bha·​ji ˈbä-jē How to pronounce bhaji (audio)
variants or less commonly bhajee
or bhajji
plural bhajis or bhajia ˈbä-jē-ə How to pronounce bhaji (audio) also bhajias or bhajees or bhajjis
: an Indian food consisting of a small quantity of chopped vegetables that have been battered and deep-fried
… I find myself outside … a sort of Indian speakeasy; you can drink pretty much all night, as long as you're always within ten feet of an onion bhaji.David Nicholls, Starter For Ten, 2007
Alsana nodded and waited for two awkward-shaped bhajis to go down the gullet.Zadie Smith, White Teeth, 2000
The sound of a hawker selling bhajia rises from the street—onion and pepper and brinjal and potato.Manil Suri, The Death of Vishnu, 2008
On the street, outside the shop, a vendor was scooping out fresh bhajias from a wok.M. G. Vassanji, The Assassin's Song, 2008
: an Indian dish of fried or sautéed vegetables often in a curry sauce
I sniff at the one-pot bhaji. Nothing too startling—potatoes, okra, some tomatoes, chick-peas; Mom doesn't believe in messing a whole bunch of pots.Rachna Gilmore, A Group Of One, 2001

Word History


borrowed from Hindi, Marathi or Gujarati bhājī "fried greens, greens, vegetables," going back to Middle Indo-Aryan (Prakrit) bhajjiā- "fried vegetables," derivative of bhajjia- "fried," going back to Sanskrit bharjita-, verbal adjective from the root of bhṛjjati "(he/she) roasts"

First Known Use

1832, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bhaji was in 1832

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Cite this Entry

“Bhaji.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

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