Which Hindi word will make it to the Oxford dictionary in 2017?

Updated: 10 December, 2017 09:27 IST | Anju Maskeri | Mumbai

With Oxford dictionary inviting suggestions for including another Hindi word, one that resonates with 2017, we asked Hindi speakers from across interests, to field their nominations

So far, 70 Indian words have made their entry into the Oxford dictionary, including jugaad, natak and chup along with desi delicacies such as gulab jamun and keema. Last month, the Oxford Dictionaries decided to go ahead and announce its decision to include another Hindi word, this time something that resonates with 2017. It can be a word or a phrase that reflects the mood and preoccupations of the year. It called on Hindi speakers across the country to help in the task. Following suggestions from the people, the word will be chosen by the Hindi Dictionaries team at Oxford University Press (OUP) along with an advisory panel of language experts, next month. We, at Sunday mid-day, decided to do our bit, by reaching out to people connected to the language to share their top nominations.

Varun Grover

Picked by: Varun Grover,
comedian and writer of Masaan
A word that was supposed to instill faith in the citizens, has become an irritant at best, given the constant threats by banks and phone companies [to link bankc accounts,etc. to Aadhaar]. It gets worse because of the impending invasion of privacy it so arrogantly wants. What's left is us waiting for it to be linked to the atmosphere so that oxygen supply to non-complying citizens can also be cut off.

Ishita Moitra

Picked by: Ishita Moitra,
dialogue writer for Noor, Half Girlfriend
I looked up the meaning of 'mast' in the Oxford dictionary and it said, a tall upright post, spar, or other structure on a ship or boat, in sailing vessels generally carrying a sail or sails. Certainly not, what Akshay Kumar had in mind when he sang to Raveena Tandon in Mohra. So I decided that mast would be my submission. It's an pan-India word. It simultaneously means cool, awesome, sexy, entertaining, and indicates a state of happiness and ecstasy. It can also be used to describe everything from Virat Kohli's shot, to the new Varun Dhawan film or a spirited aunty at a sangeet function. Originally a Persian word that means intoxicated, mast was usually used to denote a state of spiritual euphoria. Now, it is often used to signify someone who is high on life. The slowdown of the economy, censorship, the rise of extremism - 2017 has been dark, and we are in dire need of some mast-ness.

Ian Ibex

Picked by: Ian Ibex,
Hindi rapper

Dhaakad is used for someone who is powerful and strong, someone people are afraid of even. This year we have seen hordes of women take on sexual offenders. Whether it was through a Facebook or Twitter post or the #metoo campaign, there was a certain fearlessness associated with responding to sexual harassment. This bravado was the highlight of 2017.

Dr Madan Meena

Picked by: Dr Madan Meena,
folklorist and editor of The People's Linguistic Survey of India
I pick this phrase because I believe language dies gradually with the death of its vocabulary. Due to the imposition of dominant languages of commercial or political importance, minor languages die a lonely death. This year has witnessed growing support for Hindi to be scheduled as a national language. In contrast, I remember people like Shamshuddin Neelgar of Sawai Madhopur (Rajasthan), the dyer who passed away this year at the age of 95. With him, the names of more than two dozen colour shades and the technical words associated with his profession, in the Talheti language, are gone forever. Neither Hindi, nor any other dominant language can substitute them.

Kumud Chaware

Picked by: Kumud Chaware,
former political editor
Nobody, not even Hindi publications and regional newspapers, refer to it as 'vastu evam seva kar' which is the Hindi word for GST. If I look back, GST set the mood for 2017, and people began talking about it like it was a hurricane set to rip us apart. For instance, it was common to hear people say, “GST aane wala hai, yeh khareed lo; GST aane wala hai, wahan chale jao”, irrespective of whether you were aware of what it entailed. Funnily, most of us still haven't been able to wrap our head around whether this tax is beneficial or not.

Nadira Babbar

Picked by: Nadira Babbar,
theatre actor and producer of Hindi theatre This year, we saw so many arbitrary decisions taken by the government. While demonestisation was announced at the end of 2016, its effects were experienced right until now. If that wasn't enough, they rolled out GST which has disrupted the common man's life. Milk, which you earlier got for Rs 17, now costs Rs 28. We are suffering, because somebody in power has taken decisions without thinking through their consequences. This amounts to tanashahi, manmani.

Qais Jaunpuri

Picked by: Qais Jaunpuri,
Writer and man behind popular storytelling show Aao Kahein Dil Ki Baat

The people of this country were already facing trouble because of the effects of demonetisation, but like a cherry on the cake, the government launched GST. It disrupted our lives. Moroever, cow politics took its worst form. We continue to see innocent people live in fear of violence. You never know what is coming your way, so you have be prepared for the worse and we must all be prepared to 'tackle'.

Prateek Kuhad

Picked by: Prateek Kuhad,
singer-songwriter known for bilingual lyrics
People around the world are uniting to fight racial segregation, gender inequality and support refugee rehabilitation. We still have a long way to go to entirely uproot these problems, and we find enough people on the other side of the fence disagreeing with what we say. Yet, it's inspiring to see a sizeable section of the people, of various genders, cultures, nationalities and race, come together to voice their opinion, and strive for a more evolved value system. These people are not driven by individual leaders, but by mass empathy for a cause. So, I pick the word junoon.

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First Published: 10 December, 2017 09:11 IST

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