Nepalese Terms        Back to Main FAQ Page
[most of the words below are Nepali, others are from other languages indigenous to Nepal]

"bistari, bistari" -- slowly, slowly
chhapri - brass buttcap
chinnu - to slice off
cho - the characteristic notch on the blade of a khukuri, also called a kauro 
chakma or chakmak - the steel for striking on flint to produce fire; steel for sharpening knives (frequently found with a khukuri).
karda - a small knife carried in the khukri sheath
dap - the scabbard or sheath
faras - the frog
fulo - the diamond shaped washer on the butcap of a khukuri.
haandey okhar - hill walnut

hunchcha / huncha -  "sure", "OK", "alright", "so be it", etc. - affirmative response.
kami - blacksmith, iron-worker; armourer. [This is one of the pohoni or despicable castes, and the word kami, implying contempt, is often replaced by lohar.)
kajo -  the brass handle fitting (ferrule), or A band of metal (e.g. round the handle where the
blade of a khukri or sickle is sunk into it); hilt of a khukri or sword.

 kaphar hunna bhanda marnu ramro
['It is better to die than be a coward'-motto of Gurkhas] Another version of this motto goes:
  "kayar hunu bhanda marnu ramro

kauro / kaura - the small indent in the blade of a khukri [lit. `a cowry shell']. also called a cho
kothi - the metal  ornamentation on the end of a scabbard for the Khukri; the silver ornamentation on the bottom of a khukri sheath. 
laha - Himalayan epoxy, used to secure tang in handle, furnature on sheath, etc.; sealing-wax
Nepal ho. Simply, "it's Nepal." That says it all. It explains the unexplainable. --Bill Martino
namaste is the traditional Nepali greeting which means, "I salute to the God within you." --Kami Sherpa
namaskar -- same as Namaste except more respectful version usually reserved for elders or very respected friends. Elders should not address their juniors using Namaskar. Break in tradition.  --Bill Martino
pala -- means "Dad" --Kami Sherpa
pariwa ki aka - single eye of the dove  A type of enclosed Cho with a single protuberance.
tin (pronounced teen) is three in Nepali.
keta is boy
keti is girl
manche is man
dheri dhanyabad = many thanks, thank you
surya ra chandra = Sun and moon, traditional symbols of Nepal

budhume or budhune - type of khukuri with a short, broad blade
sirupate - type of khukuri with a blade long and slender like a blade of siru [a type of grass - Latin name = Imperata arundinacia (var. latifolia)]


Khukuri names courtesy of Mohd and Bill Martino

Dragon in Nepali is garoud.
Dragon's mother garoudko ama
Dragon's father garoudko ba or pala
Dhaju - Big Brother
Lamo - The Long One
Ramrai - The Beautiful One
Pauji - The Warrior
Gaundai - village big brother (gow -- village + dai -- big brother).
Gaunbai - Village little brother (gow -- village + bai -- little brother).
Motoketa - fat boy (moto -- fat + keta -- boy).
Motoketi - fat girl (moto -- fat + keti -- girl).

vocabulary from Sonam

"Theek chhai-na" or "Ramro chhai-na" (Not correct/Not good).

             Aime (Ai-may) is woman

                  Some common greetings:
                  - Kasto chha? - How are you? in a casual way
                  - Kasto hunnu hunchha? - same as above, more formal.
                  You answer to the above by saying Namaste back and usually add:
                  - Jatti ney - All right/Doing well
                  - Jatti ney chhu - I'm all right/I'm doing well.
                  After this you might also add:
                  - Ani tapai? - And how about you?
                  To which the first person might answer back: Jatti ney!

                  You can also initiate a greeting by asking:
                  - Jatti ney? - Are you doing all right?/Are you well?
                  - Jatti ney hunnu hunchha? - same as above, more formal.
                  To which the usual answer will be:
                  - Jatti ney chhu - I'm all right/I'm doing well.

                  Also, rose should be Gulab, not Gulag.
             Gulabi is pink
             Rato - red
             Neelo - blue
             Kalo - black
             Sheto - white
             Pahelo - yellow
             Hariyo - green
             Baigunay - purple (baigun is brinjal, which of course is purple in colour!)

Copyright (c) 1999-2001  by Howard Wallace / 2002-2003 by Himalayan Imports,  all rights reserved. maintained by Benjamin Slade.
This FAQ may not be included in commercial collections or compilations, or distributed for financial gain, without express written permission from the author.  This FAQ may be printed and distributed for personal non-commercial, non-profit usage, or as class material, as long as there is no charge, except to cover materials, and as long as this copyright notice is included.