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wallah

[wah-lah, -luh]
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noun Indian English.
  1. a person in charge of, employed at, or concerned with a particular thing (used in combination): a book wallah; a ticket wallah.
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Origin of wallah

First recorded in 1770–80, wallah is from the Hindi suffix -wālā suffix of relation
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wallah

Historical Examples

  • Wallah thaib—it is well said,” replied Mustapha, as the two disputants were removed from the presence.

    The Pacha of Many Tales

    Frederick Marryat

  • It was half a square before he saw a cab; then, in a matter-of-fact way, he motioned to the wallah.

    Caravans By Night

    Harry Hervey

  • I spied thirty scalps on his belt, his leggings and mocassins were sewn with the hair of the Wallah Wallahs.

  • He too commends the "Wallah Wallah" Indians for their honesty and humanity.

  • "Ah, yes; but your wallah frequently falls asleep at his work," you remark to the resident.

    East of Suez

    Frederic Courtland Penfield


British Dictionary definitions for wallah

wallah

walla

noun
  1. (usually in combination) informal a person involved with or in charge of (a specified thing)the book wallah
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Word Origin

C18: from Hindi -wālā from Sanskrit pāla protector
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 wallah

n.

also walla, Anglo-Indian, from Hindi -wala, suffix forming adjectives with the sense "pertaining to, connected with;" the functional equivalent of English -er (1). Europeans took it to mean "man, fellow" and began using it as a word.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper