Definition of Urdu in English:


Pronunciation: /ˈəːduː//ˈʊəduː/


  • [mass noun] An Indic language closely related to Hindi but written in the Persian script and having many loanwords from Persian and Arabic. It is the official language of Pakistan, and is also widely used in India and elsewhere, with about 50 million speakers worldwide.

    • ‘His mother tongue was Punjab and the medium of instruction in school was Urdu.’
    • ‘He regretted that though Urdu language is used in speaking, its script is vanishing.’
    • ‘When I was growing up, the only language I ever heard was either Urdu or Hindustani.’
    • ‘Copies of the film are being made in English and Urdu and will be distributed to all schools in south Bradford.’
    • ‘Two thirds of the pupils speak Urdu or Punjabi as their mother tongue.’
    • ‘She began to write from the right hand side of the page as if she were writing Urdu.’
    • ‘This includes discussions between the defendants and the informant in both Arabic and Urdu.’
    • ‘It noted there was only limited promotional material in Urdu or any other Asian language.’
    • ‘Similar books had been written in Arabic and Urdu, but this was the first of its kind in English.’
    • ‘The proof of the popularity of Urdu in North India is in the sale of Urdu verse in Hindi script.’
    • ‘It is without question that more people speak Hindi or Urdu than Spanish.’
    • ‘He spoke to me in chaste Urdu and I had to make do with my ungrammatical Hindi.’
    • ‘An Urdu speaker was available if needed to act as translator, although in the event he was not needed.’
    • ‘In spite of making Urdu the second official language in some States, the decline has continued.’
    • ‘Often piled in corners, they were written in Arabic, German, Urdu and English.’
    • ‘He saw old manuscripts and spoke about similarities of Urdu, Arabic and Persian.’
    • ‘The spoken form of Urdu is the same as that of Hindi but it is written in a different script than Hindi.’
    • ‘He learned Persian, Urdu and Bengali and took an interest in the ancient Sanskrit language.’
    • ‘The petition was the outcome of a mass movement in support of Urdu language.’
    • ‘Her first months were spent in language school, where she became proficient in Urdu.’


From Persian (zabān-i-)urdū (language of the) camp (because it developed as a lingua franca after the Muslim invasions between the occupying armies and the local people of the region around Delhi), urdū being from Turkic ordu (see horde).