pukka was our Word of the Day on 10/01/2009. Hear the podcast!
Examples of pukka in a sentence
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
Definition of pukka for English Language Learners
: very good
Seen and Heard
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