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Gujarati

[ gooj-uh-rah-tee, goo-juh- ]
/ ˌgʊdʒ əˈrɑ ti, ˌgu dʒə- /
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noun
an Indic language of western India.
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Origin of Gujarati

1600–10; <Hindi <Sanskrit GurjaraGujarat

Words nearby Gujarati

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

MORE ABOUT GUJARATI

What is Gujarati?

Gujarati is a language spoken in western India, particularly in the state of Gujarat, which is located on India’s western coast.

Gujarati is also used to mean the speakers of this language and the citizens of Gujarat.

Gujarati is an Indic language, coming from the same language family as Sanskrit, Hindi, Bengali, and many other languages spoken in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.  According to the 2011 Indian Census, Gujarati is spoken as a first language by over 55 million people and is the sixth most popular language in India. Nearly 4.6 percent of the Indian population speaks Gujarati as a first language.

Relative to the other languages spoken in India, Gujarati is a young language, tracing back only to the 1100s. The earliest form of written Gujarati appeared in the 1185 narrative poem Bharateśvara-bāhubali-rāsa by Śālibhadra.

Like several other Indian languages, spoken Gujarati is heavily based on Sanskrit and written Gujarati is based on the Devanagari script used by other Indic languages. Gujarati is written from left to right with an alphabet of 47 letters.

Why is Gujarati important?

The first records of the term Gujarati come from around 1600. It comes from the Sanskrit Gurjara, the name for the area of Gujarat. The word Gurjara comes from the Gurjaras, one of two dynasties that ruled over what is now northern and western India from the 500s to 800s.

Today, Gujarati has a variety of different dialects. The dialect a person speaks depends on many factors, including religion, geographic area, culture, and ethnicity. Generally speaking, the northern dialects spoken by people such as the Parsee borrow words from Persian and Arabic. The southern dialects, by contrast, borrow words from Hindi, English, and Portuguese.

While Gujarati is mostly spoken in India, especially in Gujarat, speakers of the language have spread throughout the globe. Gujarati speakers are estimated to live in 129 different countries and have the widest spread of any group of Indian language speakers. In the United States, over 20 percent of Indian-Americans are Gujarati speakers.

Did you know … ?

Although he was fluent in several languages, Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi spoke Gujarati as his first language. Gandhi was born in the city of Porbandar in what is now the state of Gujarat in 1869.

What are real-life examples of Gujarati?

This image shows a passage of the Christian Bible written in Gujarati.

 

On English social media, Gujarati is unsurprisingly most familiar to people of South Asian heritage.

 

What other words are related to Gujarati?

Quiz yourself!

True or False?

Gujarati is a language spoken primarily in Gujarat, a nation located in western India.

How to use Gujarati in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Gujarati

Gujarati

Gujerati

/ (ˌɡʊdʒjəˈrɑːtɪ) /

noun
plural -ti a member of a people of India living chiefly in Gujarat
the state language of Gujarat, belonging to the Indic branch of the Indo-European family
adjective
of or relating to Gujarat, its people, or their language
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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