‘Chuddies’ enters mainstream discourse

‘Chuddies’ (underpants) is the latest Indian word to enter the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), which has incorporated many such words from the sub-continent that reflect the long encounter between India and Britain over the centuries.

The word has figured in several gazettes and publications during British rule, but came into prominence when it was used in the popular British-Asian comedy series ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ on BBC television in the mid-1990s.

Used as the Asian equivalent of ‘kiss my a**e’, actor Sanjeev Bhaskar used the phrase: ‘kiss my chuddies’, which became popular and entered the mainstream discourse. Bhaskar played one of two characters called ‘Bhangra Muffins’ in the series, the other actor was Kulvinder Gheer.

Jonathan Dent, senior assistant editor at OED, says: “Our coverage of British Indian usage gets an update with the addition of the dismissive kiss my chuddies (underpants), popularised as a catchphrase by actor and writer Sanjeev Bhaskar.”

The OED entry describes the etymology of ‘chuddies’ and adds: ‘Short trousers, shorts. Now usually: underwear; underpants. British colloquial: kiss my chuddies and variants: used as an expression of dismissal, rejection, or disdain; cf. kiss my a**e’.

The dictionary mentions its first use in the Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine in 1858 and in the 1885 Gazetteer Bombay Presidency: “The men wear a pair of short light drawers of chaddis reaching to the knee.”

The March update to the dictionary includes 650 new words, phrases and senses.

“This quarter’s update includes some new entries and senses which we’ve drafted in response to our recent appeals: the #wordswhereyouare request for regional vocabulary, and the #hobbywords appeal for words associated with particular pastimes,” Dent added.

Many Indian words entered the English lexicon over the centuries and are in use in everyday discourse. ‘Hobson-Jobson’, a glossary published in 1886, included as many as 2000 entries of words and terms from Indian languages during the British ‘raj’.

Some of the commonly used words of Indian etymology are: loot, bungalow, avatar, mantra, chutney, cot, dacoit, dungaree, juggernaut, guru, pundit, khaki, jungle, nirvana, pukka, pyjamas, veranda, maharajah and punch.

(HT Media)