• synonyms


noun, plural ba·boos.
  1. babu.
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or ba·boo

[bah-boo](in India, especially under British rule)
  1. a Hindu title of address equivalent to Sir, Mr., or Esquire.
  2. a Hindu gentleman.
  3. a native Indian clerk who can write English.
  4. Usually Disparaging. any native Indian having only a limited knowledge of English.
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Origin of babu

First recorded in 1875–80, babu is from the Hindi word bābū

Usage note

The term babu English refers to florid, overly polite, and unidiomatic English regarded as characteristic of native Indians who have limited proficiency in English.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for baboo

Historical Examples of baboo

  • Of course Baboo went, much to the disgust of Aboo Din, the syce.

    Tales of the Malayan Coast

    Rounsevelle Wildman

  • It was useless to whip him, for whippings seemed only to make Baboo grow.

    Tales of the Malayan Coast

    Rounsevelle Wildman

  • Baboo shrugged his brown shoulders and kept his eyes on my feet.

    Tales of the Malayan Coast

    Rounsevelle Wildman

  • Oxford man tells me in a whisper that "he believes he's a Baboo."

  • One of them, a Baboo, was sent back to Bombay by an early steamer.

    The Burglars' Club

    Henry A. Hering

British Dictionary definitions for baboo


  1. (in India) a title or form of address more or less equivalent to Mr, placed before a person's full name or after his first name
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Word Origin for babu

Hindi, literally: father
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