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or baboo

[bah-boo] /ˈbɑ bu/ (in India, especially under British rule)
a Hindu title of address equivalent to Sir, Mr., or Esquire.
a Hindu gentleman.
a native Indian clerk who can write English.
Usually Disparaging. any native Indian having only a limited knowledge of English.
Origin of babu
1875-80; < Hindi bābū
Usage note
The term babu English refers to florid, overly polite, and unidiomatic English regarded as characteristic of native Indians who have limited proficiency in English. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for babu
Historical Examples
  • But we had hardly walked a hundred steps after this remark when we saw the babu running after us and signaling us to stop.

    From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan Helena Pretrovna Blavatsky
  • babu Nilratan, the husband of Labanya, was a pleader at Buxar.

  • The babu groans heavily, girds up his huge loins, and is off again.

    Kim Rudyard Kipling
  • Perhaps the babu is the thing too much in India; they could do without him.

  • Said the babu when he had talked for an hour and a half, 'I hope some day to enjoy your offeecial acquaintance.

    Kim Rudyard Kipling
  • But enough of the babu; I cannot think how he got into my letter.

  • If the babu devotes himself to Kunda, he will do what she bids him; and she shall do what I bid her.

    The Poison Tree Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
  • I was not too much shocked when the unnerved babu requested whisky!

    Autobiography of a YOGI Paramhansa Yogananda
  • Thanks to the babu's instructions, we took great care to eat only with our right hands.

    From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan Helena Pretrovna Blavatsky
  • The Egyptian, like the babu, is fond of bursting into print.

    New Zealanders at Gallipoli Major Fred Waite
British Dictionary definitions for babu


(in India) a title or form of address more or less equivalent to Mr, placed before a person's full name or after his first name
Word Origin
Hindi, literally: father
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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