10 Funny Indian English Phrases

From ‘God Promise’ to ‘non-veg’ jokes, we take a look at a few unique Indian English phrases and their meanings

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Credit: Flickr/ZeePack

English is not usually an Indian’s mother tongue. We tend to think in our native language and then translate those thoughts into English literally. Over the years, this has resulted in some unique Indo-English phrases which are used only in the Indian sub-continent. Earlier we had put together a list on English words made up by Indians. Bayside Journal brings to you a few amusing English phrases made up by our fellow countrymen over the years:


1. Good Name

“May I know your good name?”

In India, we tend to have a nickname or a ‘pet’ name. This nickname can be an abbreviation of the first name or sometimes something different altogether such as Chotu, Bunty or Khukhu. So, if you want to  know someones real, official name, you must ask for their ‘good’ name. Rest assured, you will get the right response.


2. God Promise/Mother promise 

“Our ball didn’t break that window, mother promise!”

Mother Promise or God Promise is the ultimate promise and a sentence uttered with that phrase is supposed to be the gospel truth. If you tell a lie and say mother Promise, you are a despicable person.


3. Real Brother

“Is he your real brother?”

‘Real’ brother or sister is your sibling. The ‘other’ brothers and sisters are usually cousins or really close friends.


4. He is serious.

“Rahul and Tina are serious.”

No, this doesn’t mean they are in a hospital. It means that they are serious about their relationship. For some reason, the relationship bit is always left out.


5. Veg/Non-veg Jokes

Somewhere down the line, vegetarians (we presume) labelled dirty jokes as non ‘veg’ and clean, child-friendly jokes as ‘veg’. Why? No clue. Maybe the sight of a sausage frightened and amused them at the same time.


6. Healthy

“She’s not fat, she’s a bit healthy.”

Healthy is nothing but a polite word for fat. Indians, especially Indian aunties, use this term to describe chubby people, complete with a special gesture to indicate the said person’s plumpness. It is the politically correct term for fat.


7. Loose Motions

“Loose motions ho gaya hai.”

A very descriptive term for diarrhea.


8. Passing Out

“She has passed out of college.”

In American and British English, the term ‘passing out’ implies that the person has fainted. In Indian English it means the person has simply completed their graduation, not fainted through college/school.


9. Same to Same

“You also wore red! Same to same!”

“Same to same” and its cousin “same pinch” means, well, you know what it means.


10. Native Place

“Where is your native place?”

Your ‘native place’ is where your ancestors (or sometimes even your grandparents) came from. Never mind that  your mother was born in Dadar. On college admission forms they even insist on putting down an obscure village as your ‘native place’.