Definition of Urdu in English:



  • A form of Hindustani written in Persian script, with many loanwords from Persian and Arabic. It is an official language of Pakistan and is widely used in India and elsewhere.

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