How a 90s British-Asian Comedy Got 'Chuddies' Added to the Oxford Dictionary

'Chuddies' has been the latest addition to the Oxford English Dictionary. The dictionary over the last few years has been incorporating several 'Indian-English' words into it, but this one stands out for a special reason: its inception is from a British-Asian comedy show.

Goodness Gracious Me is a show that aired in the mid-1990s on BBC and starred Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal, Kulvinder Ghir in the lead roles. The show explored the integration of Indian and British cultures through a series of satires, musicals, and skits. In 1997, it won the Gold Award for Comedy - radio's equivalent of a Bafta.

The show was immensely popular during its run for its “ability to jump the cultural chasm without trading in stereotypes.” Even after its TV-run, it still remains somewhat popular for 'catchphrases.'

"I can make it at home for nothing" is one of the more popular ones, which you've probably heard in passing - but did you know it originated from this show? It actually comes from a customer dealing with aubergines, or brinjals, as we call it in Indian-English.

Similarly, another phrase, "kiss my chuddies" is also popular from the same show.

The "Kiss my chuddies" phrase was popularized by the 'teenagers' on the show who used it as a response phrase to a statement. The phrase is also an example of the language an Indian community living in the UK might speak on an everyday basis, an intersection of black and brown, mostly Punjabi lingo.

An example of this phrase used in this show is below.

So we know where 'chuddies' came from. But why has it been added now?

The March update to the dictionary includes 650 new words, phrases, and senses.

“This quarter’s update includes some new entries and senses which we’ve drafted in response to our recent appeals: the #wordswhereyouare request for regional vocabulary, and the #hobbywords appeal for words associated with particular pastimes”, Jonathan Dent, senior assistant editor at OED, said.

The reason 'chuddies' qualifies as regional vocabulary, is because it is one of the clearest examples of 'Queen's Hinglish,' or the mixture of English and Hindi that immigrants from South-East Asia in the UK speak. While a complete sentence in Punjabi or in Hindi would be lost on others, a simple interchange of one of the words(here: underpants) to a native one(chaddi or chuddie) still manages to be comprehended.

While the Oxford Dictionary defines it just fine, any Indian will tell you that the 'origin' story of it is highly doubtful. Churidars are far different from chuddies.


To the 'origin' listed on the official definition, we'd just like to say, Goodness Gracious Me.