[oo r-doo, ur-; oo r-doo, ur-]


one of the official languages of Pakistan, a language derived from Hindustani, used by Muslims, and written with Persian-Arabic letters.

Origin of Urdu

< Urdu, Hindi urdū, extracted from Persian zabān i urdū literally, language of the camp (ultimately < Turkic; see horde)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for urdu

Contemporary Examples of urdu

Historical Examples of urdu

  • He had spoken once or twice in Urdu to the mullah and had received no answer.

  • As they spoke no English, we were obliged to converse with them in Urdu.

  • He knew it was near the end when he had difficulty in finding the necessary words in Urdu.

    The Red Year

    Louis Tracy

  • The lama fell back on Urdu, remembering that he was in a strange land.


    Rudyard Kipling

  • Then to the mahout she continued in Urdu, "Gul Dad, are you hurt?"

    The Jungle Girl

    Gordon Casserly

British Dictionary definitions for urdu



an official language of Pakistan, also spoken in India. The script derives primarily from Persia. It belongs to the Indic branch of the Indo-European family of languages, being closely related to Hindi but containing many Arabic and Persian loan words

Word Origin for Urdu

C18: from Hindustani (zabāni) urdū (language of the) camp, from Persian urdū camp, from Turkish ordū
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

Word Origin and History for urdu


official language of Pakistan, 1796, from Hindustani urdu "camp," from Turkish ordu (source of horde); short for zaban-i-urdu "language of the camp." Compare Dzongkha, a variant of Tibetan and the official language of Bhutan, literally "the language of the fortress."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper