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[wah-lah, -luh] /ˈwɑ lɑ, -lə/
noun, Indian English.
a person in charge of, employed at, or concerned with a particular thing (used in combination):
a book wallah; a ticket wallah.
Origin of wallah
First recorded in 1770-80, wallah is from the Hindi suffix -wālā suffix of relation Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for wallah
Historical Examples
  • wallah thaib—it is well said,” replied Mustapha, as the two disputants were removed from the presence.

    The Pacha of Many Tales Frederick Marryat
  • It was half a square before he saw a cab; then, in a matter-of-fact way, he motioned to the wallah.

    Caravans By Night Harry Hervey
  • I spied thirty scalps on his belt, his leggings and mocassins were sewn with the hair of the wallah wallahs.

  • He too commends the "wallah wallah" Indians for their honesty and humanity.

  • "Ah, yes; but your wallah frequently falls asleep at his work," you remark to the resident.

    East of Suez Frederic Courtland Penfield
  • I spied thirty scalps on his belt, his leggings and mocassins were sewn with the hair of the wallah wallahs .

    Monsieur Violet Frederick Marryat
  • The three young men of the wallah wallah nation Continue with us in the Course of this day.

    The Journals of Lewis and Clark Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
  • But the evening after that, when the snow had ceased again, he opened his eyes and called "wallah, wallah!"

    The Three Mulla-mulgars Walter De La Mare
British Dictionary definitions for wallah


(usually in combination) (informal) a person involved with or in charge of (a specified thing): the book wallah
Word Origin
C18: from Hindi -wālā from Sanskrit pāla protector
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for wallah

also walla, Anglo-Indian, from Hindi -wala, suffix forming adjectives with the sense "pertaining to, connected with;" the functional equivalent of English -er (1). Europeans took it to mean "man, fellow" and began using it as a word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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