noun, plural ba·boos.


or ba·boo

[bah-boo](in India, especially under British rule)


a Hindu title of address equivalent to Sir, Mr., or Esquire.
a Hindu gentleman.
a native Indian clerk who can write English.
Usually Disparaging. any native Indian having only a limited knowledge of English.

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for baboos

Contemporary Examples of baboos

Historical Examples of baboos

  • In the evening the Maharajah gave a party to all the native notabilities of the city; great attendance of Baboos.

    Lord Randolph Churchill

    Winston Spencer Churchill

  • Bengali baboos vainly petitioned the British government to pass the bill in all its integrity.

    India Under British Rule

    James Talboys Wheeler

  • The great purveyor was right, because the Baboos give large orders and pay regularly for fear of exposure.

    The Hindoos as they Are

    Shib Chunder Bose

  • Recognising the Baboos as the immediate cause of their disturbance, they attacked them with indomitable courage.

  • He was very polite himself and made the most beautiful bows to all the Baboos.

    Barty Crusoe and His Man Saturday

    Frances Hodgson Burnett

British Dictionary definitions for baboos



(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

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