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[wah-lah, -luh]
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 of wallah

  • 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



  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 for wallah

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


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