Word Origin for desi
Words nearby desi
ABOUT THIS WORD
What does Desi mean?
Its exact meaning and implications vary from person to person. Some use it as a positive self-identifier, while others view it as too limiting or even disparaging.
For many, Desi is used to indicate a South Asian heritage. When used in this sense, Desi typically means that a person can trace their descent to one or more South Asian countries, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Nepal, and Bhutan.
Some people use Desi to indicate that they view their identity as being rooted in the pan-ethnic culture and history of South Asia, without reference to a specific nationality. Some use Desi as a way to identify as being part of the South Asian diaspora—those of South Asian descent who now live in other places. Desi is used in the term Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (abbreviated as APIDA), which is often used with the intent to be more explicitly inclusive of South Asians than other similar terms, such as Asian American Pacific Islander (abbreviated as AAPI).
However, not everyone who has South Asian heritage identifies as Desi.
The term is sometimes viewed as being Indian-centric. Sometimes, Desi is thought to be even more narrow, referring only to or primarily being used by people of northern Indian descent. In this way, the word is sometimes thought to exclude those from southern or central India or those from other parts of South Asia.
Within South Asia, particularly within India among speakers of Hindi, Desi can be used to mean “local” or “native.” This use is sometimes extended to refer to a person as being rural and unsophisticated (somewhat similar to terms like hick and country bumpkin).
In general, Desi can be used as either an adjective or a noun. For example, a group of people may be referred to as Desis or a person may be referred to as a member of the Desi community. Sometimes, it’s left lowercase.
Example: I prefer to identify as Desi American, which I think describes my identity better than “Asian American.”
Where does Desi come from?
The first records of the use of the word Desi in English come from the 1800s. It comes from the Hindi desī, meaning “rural,” “indigenous,” or “from the country.” This Hindi word ultimately comes from the Sanskrit deśa, meaning “a country.”
The Hindi origin of Desi may contribute to its association in some contexts with northern India, where Hindi is one of the predominant languages and where the word is more likely to be used than in southern parts of the country.
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How is Desi used in real life?
Some people use the word Desi to self-identify as being of South Asian descent, while others view it as negative or too narrow or avoid using it for other reasons.
#MasterChefAU Honestly seeing a big cooking show having a Bengali and a Punjabi in the limelight at the same time, cooking bhortas and pakoras and everything!
Makes me so proud of being desi❤️
— Neel P (Not Sarah🥕) (@neels_pandit) May 3, 2021
— Forever A Sourcer (@MonaliParmar) May 3, 2021
fun fact i’m desi and have never been to an official indian wedding bcs my entire family is somehow super small and no one gets married anymore
— reva ✧ tvd religion 🌻🔪 (@JULIETTESR0MA) May 8, 2021
gentle reminder that i don’t identify as desi. for a long time (and even now) that word seemed to only capture the usually fairer skinned, often n*rth ind*an experience. as a dark skinned tamil/malayali person, it’s never really fit me. i’m brown, i’m dravidian. but not desi. ty!
— 𝓱𝓪𝓷 🍇🔮🧜🏾♀️ (@perfectchaii) June 26, 2020
How to use desi in a sentence
Desi, who we know is deeply in love with his girlfriend, Clementine, passionately kisses her.The Excellent Season 3 Finale of ‘Girls’ Caps Off Its Best Season Yet|Marlow Stern|March 24, 2014|DAILY BEAST
One day at a party, Lucille Ball confronted him, wailing: “How dare you pimp for Desi!”
At the height of I Love Lucy, Bowers says, he set up Desi Arnaz with two to three women a week.
Mian took pride on her Orkut profile in being “desi,” or South Asian.
It was Desi who once showed you that handwriting for a moment, when your mother sent her love in Fanny's letter.Debts of Honor|Maurus Jkai
His chief adviser was the Desi or Prime Minister, supposed to be his natural son.