Anglo-Indian Army Slang
British people who lived or served in India often assimilated
Hindi and Urdu words into
their daily conversations. Gradually these were disseminated
through the Indian Army and the colonial civilian population, and
thanks to the First World War, throughout the British Army and the
forces of the rest of the Empire.
British officers referred to Germany's highly trained riflemen as
'snipers.' This word harks back to the Indian Army in the
late 18th century when officers would go bird hunting in the hills
and the tiny snipe was one of the hardest targets to hit.
'Have a dekko' or 'take a dekko' uses the Hindi word 'dekho'
Cushy was borrowed from the Urdu word 'kushī' by the British in
India and used to describe things associated with pleasure,
happiness, or ease. British and Empire troops applied it to aspects
of their lives in the forces, dubbing an easy job or a comfortable
spot as 'a cushy number'.
Evolved from the Urdu word 'bilāyatī' for foreign or European,
'Blighty' came to mean England, Britain, or simply 'home'. Troops
of the First World War used 'a Blighty one' or 'a Blighty' to refer
to a wound which would not be fatal but would get a man sent
The label for this colour comes from an Urdu word for dust.