pukka

play
adjective puk·ka \ˈpə-kə\
variants: or less commonly

pukka was our Word of the Day on 10/01/2009. Hear the podcast!

Examples of pukka in a sentence

  1. wondering whether the old-looking ivory box was pukka—or just something recently manufactured in China

Did You Know?

Pukka tends to evoke the height of 18th- and 19th-century British imperialism in India, and, indeed, it was first used in English at the 1775 trial of Maha Rajah Nundocomar, who was accused of forgery and tried by a British court in Bengal. The word is borrowed from Hindi and Urdu "pakkā," which means "solid." The English speakers who borrowed it applied the "sound and reliable" sense of "solid" and thus the word came to mean "genuine." As the British Raj waned, "pukka" was occasionally appended to "sahib" (an Anglo-Indian word for a European of some social or official status). That expression is sometimes used as a compliment for an elegant and refined gentleman, but it can also imply that someone is overbearing and pretentious. These days, "pukka" is also used as a British slang word meaning "excellent" or "cool."

Origin and Etymology of pukka

Hindi & Urdu pakkā cooked, ripe, solid, from Sanskrit pakva; akin to Greek pessein to cook — more at cook


First Known Use: 1776


PUKKA Defined for English Language Learners

pukka

play
adjective puk·ka \ˈpə-kə\

Definition of pukka for English Language Learners

  • : very good



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up pukka? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a person who is a bore or nuisance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • peter-bruegel-tower-of-babel-painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!