Skip To Content

    13 Delightful Indianisms All English Speakers Need

    Read this post only.

    1. "Complaint box" = someone who complains a lot.

    20th Century Fox / Via

    2. "Don't eat my head" = don't annoy me.

    Kingfisher World / Via

    3. "Please adjust" = I am asking you to compromise or improvise to make this situation work.

    Paramount Pictures / Via

    Use when: you've booked a table for four but it turns out you're going to be six and the host is giving you grief.

    4. "Kindly do the needful" = please do what is necessary (and get it done).

    Memegenerator / Via

    It sounds weird to today's North American or British ear, but this Victorian-era phrase is still common in Indian business settings. Frequently seen in pleas to customer service departments:

    @sahanshu/@parasdhawan/@nithinvarmadand / Via Twitter: @search

    5. "Pre-pone" = to move something up (the opposite of postpone).

    Brimstone / Via

    6. "PJ" = poor joke.

    Lost and Found Music Studios / Via

    7. "BT" = bad trip, used by people in Delhi to describe bad experiences (not necessarily drug-related).

    Henson Associates / Via

    8. "Send" used to request the passing of table items, as in "send the salt, please."

    20th Century Fox / Via

    9. "Mugging" = cramming for an exam.

    Cravendale / Via

    Not sure exactly how this works, but I'm guessing you point a gun at your textbook and ask it to give you all the facts inside quickly OR ELSE.

    10. "Passed out" = graduated, as in "passed out of college."

    Paper Clip Productions / Via

    Not the way Americans pass out in college.

    11. "Foreign-return" = someone who's returned home after living abroad.

    Dharma Productions/Star World India Pvt. Ltd. / Via

    12. "On" and "off" used as verbs, as in "off the lights, will you?"

    20th Century Fox / Via

    "I offed them" doesn't sound ominous at all.

    13. "Only" tacked on the end of sentences for emphasis, as in "I am doing this only" (ie. right now, when asked about the status of a task).

    John Hughes Entertainment / Via

    Yes, I am doing the needful only, if you would just leave me to it. Kindly.

    Thanks to the BuzzFeed India team, who suggested phrases for this post.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form