Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Used as a Hindi courtesy title for a man, equivalent to Mr.
  • n. A Hindu clerk who is literate in English.
  • n. Offensive A native of India who has acquired some superficial education in English.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A Hindu title of respect, equivalent to Mr.; hence, a Hindu gentleman or official.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A Hindu title of address, equivalent to sir or Mr., given to gentlemen, clerks, etc.: formerly applied in some parts of Hindustan to certain persons of distinction.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. used as a Hindi courtesy title; equivalent to English `Mr'

Etymologies

Hindi bābū, father.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Hindi बाबू (bābū) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • From a printed curiosity -- a letter written by one of those brave and confident Hindoo strugglers with the English tongue, called a "babu" -- I got a more compressed translation: "Godville."

    Following the Equator

  • A remarkable statement reveals him to be a 'babu': "He said many of the awardees will go abroad while others will study at home, but those who do not go abroad should not feel deprived, because, 'I know many men and women who excelled globally, but had studied in Bangladesh.'"

    The Logos of Bangladesh

  • The influence of Hindi in English is always there in the land of India where its national language, the colloquialism of which has been widely accepted by the Indians and even some words like Badmash, babu, maska and many more are introduced in English dictionaries.

    English as Intellectual Make Up for Indians « Articles « Literacy News

  • One of the pandies stirred, and pulled himself up on one knee; Wheeler, his arm still round the babu, whipped up his revolver and fired, and the pandy flopped back in the dust.

    Fiancée

  • Someone came forward at a crouching run and laid two charged muskets on the ground beside me; to my astonishment I saw it was Bella Blair - the fat babu I'd seen reading the previous night was similarly arming the riding-master, and the chap on t'other side of me had as his loader a very frail-looking old civilian in a dust-coat and cricket cap.

    Fiancée

  • Wheeler himself was down on one knee, supporting the fat babu, who was wailing with a shattered leg; the frail civilian was lying asprawl, his cricket cap gone and his head just a squashed red mess.

    Fiancée

  • The babu, flat on the ground, was turning his head to polish his spectacles; Bella Blair had her face hidden, but I noticed her fists were clenched.

    Fiancée

  • She had said herself that a babu read English books to her aloud.

    In The Time Of Light

  • That being a miracle, the babu forthwith wrought another one, and within a minute King's one trunk was checked through to Delhi.

    In The Time Of Light

  • "Excuse me, sir," said the man in glib babu English.

    In The Time Of Light

Comments

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  • I like this sentence in the panda article:

    A spokesman said he had not travelled far from his home: "He was very clever and stayed away from the roads and kept near the berries."

    I'm easily amused. I could read panda escape stories all day.

    December 13, 2008

  • Oh! Also the name of a red panda which was briefly famous a few years ago.

    December 13, 2008

  • In one of its derogatory senses, excessively ornate English from an Indian book-learner — or the speaker himself.

    In another, related sense, refers to those engaged in excessively self-absorbed bureaucracy — see here.

    Also has its uses as a perfectly polite term.

    बाब�? ?

    December 13, 2008