wallah

noun wal·lah \ ˈwä-lə , in combination usually ˌwä-lə \

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

wallah was our Word of the Day on 05/26/2007. Hear the podcast!

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


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