What does yaar mean?


While it sounds like something a pirate would say, yaar is actually an informal Indian English term for a friend. It can also be a term for a lover, especially in Bollywood.

Examples of yaar


Examples of yaar
Finally My buddy my yaar my bestie hisham khan takes oath ! 👏👏👏👏👏👏
@rahimkhan, August 2018
Recently, the actress shared her dance rehearsal video which is getting viral. In the video, she is dancing on the song 'Yaar Naa Miley' from Salman Khan's film 'Kick'.
TNN, Times of India, November 2018

Where does yaar come from?


Yaar means “friend” in Hindi. It’s a popular term in Indian English, used especially as a term of address for “friend.” It ultimately comes, via Hindi, from the Persian and Arabic yar, meaning “friend,” and is recorded in English as early as the 1960s.

This yaar is roughly equivalent to the British English mate or American English buddy. Like these words, yaar is used for your actual friends but also to address any man (and increasingly women), even just acquaintances, in a friendly way, e.g., Pass me a beer, yaar.

If you have a yaar, then you’ve found yaari, friendship. This can be a common friendship or have a more romantic connotation.

According to Google Trends data, the term yaar has become increasingly searched online since 2011, perhaps coinciding with the growing popularity of Bollywood film and culture outside India.

A viral Indian video from 2018 features a guru, feeling disrespected, saying, “I am not your yaar” in response to a girl’s question where she refers to him as such. The video clip is often juxtaposed with Bollywood videos for ironic effect.

Who uses yaar?

Yaar is a very popular and common term in India, both in English and Hindi. It has been particularly associated with certain tropes in Bollywood since the 1970s. In Bollywood, many songs refer to the desire for a yaar or to be in yaari with someone. These songs often have strong sexual overtones, which has led to the interpretation of yaar in some contexts as being more romantic (and homoromantic at that) than platonic.

The popularity of yaar in Indian pop culture has led to its use throughout Indian populations abroad.

Yaar is so ubiquitous, apparently, that it’s sometimes used in India as shorthand for the discourse marker or tag question “You know?” or “Do you understand?”, e.g., I’ll call you later, yaar?

Yaar is also used as a boy’s name in Arabic.

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