look at my lovely words

I’ve just completed my 3rd draft of Dancing with fireflies and have been tackling the glossary……. I hadn’t realised how many unusual words I used. It’s taken me all day just to list them down and clarify what they all mean! So here are my new words that I have come to love. I hope you like them too.


Glossary of terms

Almyra – wardrobe, chest of drawers.

Aloo – potato

Arrack  – spirit made from date palm

Ayah – nanny

Balwar – barber

Bearer – servant

Betel – a nut from the areca palm that can be chewed to produce a euphoric and stimulating effect.

Bobbery-bob – row, disturbance

Boff – toilet

Boxwallah – pedlar selling cutlery and nick-nacks,

Burra-beebee  – grande dame, who claims precedence at a party

Cabob – roast meat

Canaut – sidewall of a tent, canvas enclosure

Chapati – unleavened bread

Chatta – silk parasol

Carrozzi – Maltese horse drawn carriage

Cheroot – cigar

Chai wallah – tea maker

Charpoy – bed

Chee chee – Anglo Indian sing song accent

Chin-chin – cheers

Chiticky – curried vegetable

Choga – long sleeved garment-like a dressing gown, soft wool, embroidered on sleeves and shoulders

Chokidar – watchman

Chota peg – small jug for serving individual servings of alcohol

Churprassy – bearer

Compound – garden around dwelling

Coolie – servant/labourer

Cookhouse – kitchen detached from house

Dalis – basket of Christmas treats for servants

Dhal – lentil dish

Dhobi wallah – clothes washer

Dhoti – cloth wrapped around waist and tied

Didwan – watchman

Doob – creeping grass

Durzis – taylor

Dumpoke – baked dish often duck, boned and stuffed

Dustuck – handclap to get attention

Figolli – maltese easter almond cake

Ghats – steps leading down to water

Hatty – elephant

Housey housey – bingo

Jalebee –  chewy, sticky sweet

Jasoos – spy

Joola – swing

Kala juggah – dark place, arranged near ballroom for flirting

Kedgeree – rice and fish dish

Khansamah – cook

Kilim – rug

Kitmutgar – server of meals, waiting at table

Kissmiss – Christmas

Kurta – pyjamas

Mali – gardener

Memsahib – European woman

Messalgie – pantry boy

Moorgli-khana – hen house (the women’s area in a club)

Moorpunky – peacock-tailed pleasure boat

Mora – footstool

Muscolchi – cooks boy

Neem – fast growing evergreen tree

Nercha – a promise, vow

Okra – green seed pods

Ooplah – cow dung cakes for fuel

Paneer – unsalted white cheese

Pishpash – rice soup containing meat

Punka Wallah – fan servant

Pootly nautch – a puppet show

Quoits – a game involving loops and pegs

Scyce – groom for a horse

Solar topee – cork pith helmet

Spin – spinster

Teapoy – 3-legged table

Tikka – coloured paste or powder worn on the forehead by Hindu men and women

Tonga – horse drawn carriage



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