Hindi, Urdu: kachrah کچره

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by aisha93, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. aisha93

    aisha93 Senior Member


    This is a word used in Bahrain and Kuwait and probably other Gulf countries to describe something of poor quality
    Usually for objects like machines, furniture or the like
    It is sometimes used to describe performance or service as well

    It is only used in spoken language and is written as كجرة in informal writings and pronounced (کَچْرَه) > the راء is of course مفخمة, which is the case for almost all words in Gulf dialects, even words of non-Arabic origin

    I highly suspect that this word comes from Hindi because I couldn't find it in Persian Loghatnameh and I don't think it is a mispronunciation of any English word

    So does such a word or similar one exist in Hindi? If yes then can you tell its original meaning please?

  2. Chhaatr Senior Member

    Well kachRaa (کچڑا) and kuuRaa (کوڑا) are used to mean garbage in Hindi. For poor quality equipment too people informally use these words.
  3. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    I have heard کَچْرَه used by non-native Urduphones to mean the same that in Urdu is:
    کُوڑا kuuRaa / کوڑا کرکٹ kuuRaa karkaT / رَدّی raddii / کَباڑ kabaaR = rubbish / garbage etc.

    فَضُول اشيا fuDhuul ashyaa = useless items / cheap stuff that is liable to become useless in no time etc. [sing. fuDhuul shae / fuDhuul chiiz]
    نا کارآمد naa kaar-aamad = useless thing / of no benefit

    There is however کچرا kachraa in Urdu, meaning unripe fruit = کچّا پھل kachchaa phal !

    ...and there is also کھچڑا khachRaa = useless, used by some Urduphones to mean exactly what you are describing above (poor quality item) - not to be confused with khichRaa (Haliim), a very tasty dish.
  4. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I have heard kachraa for the same from native Urduphones but for me it sounds rustic.
  5. littlepond Senior Member

    A common word in Hindi and many other Indian languages, "kachraa" means garbage, rubbish and so on. It used to be a noun but is also an adjective these days for something of worthless quality: and indeed that's the word you are hearing around you, Aisha!
  6. Alfaaz Senior Member

    Here is kachraa in Platts (in the sense mentioned by Faylasoof SaaHib above):
    Here it is in the other sense:
    Entry from Urdu Lughat:
    It seems that کچرا kachraa is used a lot with the first and fifth meanings, in addition to all the other words.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  7. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I am curious about the R in your kachRaa. I have always heard it as kachraa and same goes for the written word.

    In my childhood, a "kachraa" (in Punjabi) was an unripe melon and many such "kachre" never reached maturity and became victims of untimely "death" through the hands of young boys!

    The dominant meaning in Urdu nowadays seems to be as Alfaaz SaaHib has indicated.
  8. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    A collection of short stories by MuHyiddin Navaab is entitled "kachraa-ghar". He was born in 1930 in Bengal and was an Urdu speaking Bengali.


    I have found the following example from an Urdu translation of the Bible.I am not 100%
    certain but I believe the translator is Mirza Muhammad Fitrat from the Fort William College hailing from Lucknow. I have sent an e-mail to Biblesos. Hopefully, I'll get a reply from them.

    یہاں تک کہ میں کچرے کی ڈھیر پر ایک خشک چمڑ ے کی مشکیز ہ کی مانند ہوں، تب بھی میں تیرے شریعت کو نہیں بھو لو نگا ۔
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  9. Chhaatr Senior Member

    QP SaaHib, for me it has always been kachRaa (कचड़ा) and the usage is pretty common in Hindi.
  10. littlepond Senior Member

    ^ This Hindi speaker, Chhatr jii, has never used, read or heard kachRaa in his life; it's always been kachraa in his experience.
  11. Chhaatr Senior Member

  12. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    So far we know this noun is used in Hindi (both kachRaa and kachraa) and in Urdu (kachraa). As far as Urdu is concerned it is used by non-native speakers as heard by F. SaaHib while I have heard it by native ones. Further written references as per QP SaaHib's contribution attest its to it. My previous comment has my subjective impression but the main point was to say it is bona fide Urdu, also in the meaning of ''dirt, garbage''.

    Apparently the word has not only various pronunciations/spelling in Hindi and Urdu but also different etymologies for those meanings, cf. the quotes from Platts.

    Since Platts was not sure of it, the modern studies tell us this:

    karcūra 2828 karcūra ʻ *yellow ʼ, m. ʻ turmeric ʼ lex., n. ʻ an orpiment ʼ Śiś., ʻ gold ʼ lex., °aka -- m. ʻ turmeric ʼ lex.[...]H. kacūr, °rā, kacrā m. ʻ zedoary plant or root ʼ, kacrī, kacarī, °riyā f. ʻ id., a small green and yellow striped melon [...]

    kaccara 2615 kaccara ʻ dirty, vile ʼ lex. [...] H. kacrā, kaclā m. ʻ sweepings, dirt, clay ʼ;

    There is also Hindi Shabdasaagara:

    कचरा संज्ञा पुं० [हिं० कच्चा] १. कच्चा खरबूजा । २. फूट का कच्चा फल । ककड़ी ।...kachraa s.m. [H. kachchaa] 1. kachchaa xarbuuzaa. 2. phuuT kaa kachchaa phal. kakRii....​
    ... that suggests the connection with kachchaa for the meaning ''unripe fruit''.

    The second reference from Turner points out to two phonetic alternations (in the meaning discussed in the OP): kachraa and kachlaa! but we already know that there is kachRaa too as a variant and my Hindi lexicon mentions all the three forms. After all, it is not the first instance of r-R-l fluctuation, there are many of them.
  13. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Well, native Urdu speakers would also start using kachrah کَچْرَه (to mean rubbish) if surrounded non-native speakers as is now common given the diaspora of Urduphones but its use is not considered good Urdu by at least some of us.

    A similar sounding but distinct word is khachRaa to mean useless, no good etc., as I mentioned earlier (underlined below),
    The word کھچڑا khachRaa [and not khichRaa (= Haliim) which we all us] also seems to be used by some native Urdu speakers though it might be considered more a slang by others
  14. littlepond Senior Member

    It may very well be that khachRaa is just ghalat-ul-a'am standardised through usage and listings in a few dictionaries. After all, kachraa has been existing in not just Hindi but several languages to mean rubbish, and Urdu is an Indic product, a child of these languages.
  15. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    ^ Very true!

    Besides khachRaa, there is also khachraa, the literal meaning of which is 'hybrid, mixed parentage' (derived from khachchar 'mule'), and by extension 'useless, vile, etc.'
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
  16. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    My quote above is for کَچْرَه kachraa and not کھچڑا khachRaa !

    I think you meant to quote this:

    khachRaa a Ghalat-ul-3aam? That is a presumption I think! Besides I never said that it is listed in any Urdu dictionary. Quite the contrary it is not regarded as good Urdu – more a slang. Perhaps a borrowing from another Indic language. In any case it just isn’t considered good Urdu!
  17. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    No, not quite! Assuming you are nodding to the idea of کھچڑا khachRaa being Ghalat-ul-3aam! I hope I haven't misunderstood you.
    Yes, in Hindi it is खच्चर khachchar for a mule. BTW, in Urdu we say خچر xachchar ​for the same, while كھچر khachchar would be very poor Urdu diction.
  18. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English

    I was agreeing with littlepond's second sentence. In his first sentence, I think he meant to say that kachraa (or kachrah), meaning 'rubbish', may be Ghalat-ul-3aam in Urdu.

    Yes, in Urdu it is xachchar. For khachchar > khachraa, I was summarizing Turner (cf. below):

    khaccara 3765 *khaccara ʻ mule ʼ. 2. *kaccara -- 2. [← (through Psht. qačara or Bal. xačar?) a Turk. dial. form such as qačïr ultimately ← Ir. *xaratara -- (cf. IA. khara -- 1) in Sogd. grtr'k, Khot. khaḍara W. B. Henning BSOAS xi 723]
    1. Paš. dar. xáčir, kuṛ. kačero ʻ mule ʼ, S. khacaru m., °ri f., P. khaccar f. (→ N. khaccar; H. khaccar m. ʻ mule ʼ, khacrā ʻ hybrid, of mixed parentage ʼ; G. khaccar n. ʻ mule ʼ, M. khaċar, khẽċar n.).
    2. L. kaccur m., °cir f.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
  19. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    ^Well I'm not sure what he (littlepond) meant to say but what he said was this:
    The point is neither khachRaa nor kachraa / kachrah (to mean rubbish) are considered good Urdu! So the question of Ghalat-ul-3aam doesn't mean anything! Neither is 3aam (common) in Urdu!

    to mean unripe fruit (kachchaa phal) is part of our vocabulary, as I stated earlier,

  20. littlepond Senior Member

    I was referring to the above: in which post Faylasoof hasn't mentioned that this is a slang. In post no. 13, again Faylasoof says that it is considered "slang by others" (i.e., not by all). If now Faylasoof says that "khachRaa" isn't considered good Urdu (presumably by all), then it's certainly not a ghalat-ul-3aam. Good to know.
  21. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    ^ I don't think we have to go on with this as the point now seems to be clear except:
    1) My not referring to the word being "slang" was not necessary since I already indicated that it is used by some Urduphones (i.e. not all) hence it is not standard Urdu. Anything not standard can be considered slang!
    2) Given the Urdu diaspora (mentioned by me above) it is inevitable that some Urduphones will use non-standard Urdu words and expression.
    3) It is not now that I indicate this to be not good Urdu. Anything slang (post 13) cannot be called good Urdu!

    Thanks for your understanding. Perhaps we can now lay this to rest!
  22. littlepond Senior Member

    ऐसा मालूम होता है कि "खचड़ा" मगही भाषा, हिन्दी-उर्दू के अनेक स्त्रोतों में एक, में तो ज़रूर विध्य्मान है: यहाँ इस का मतलब "बदमाश" के रूप में किया गया है (खचड़ा गाय: मरखनी गाय, बदमाश गाय)| तो ज़रूरी नहीं कि गाय निरर्थक हो: वह शायद दूध तो देती है, पर मिज़ाज से ज़रा टेढ़ी है| Site के अनुसार यह शब्द "ठेठ मगही" शब्दों में से है, कोई भूल से प्रकट हुआ शब्द नहीं|
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  23. JaiHind Senior Member

    India - Hindi
    I agree with this. In fact when writing in Devnaagri script we always write कचड़ा and seldom कचरा. The later is considered not so learned use, mostly used informal or by less educated people.
  24. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    ^ Are you sure about that?

    कचड़ा 12,900 Google search results

    कचडा 1,460 results

    कचरा 878,000 results

    The latter appears to be much more common. Google books search results also confirm this.
  25. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    अच्छा तो खचड़ा एक मरखनी , बदमाश और बदमिज़ाज गाय का मतलब है | बहुत धन्यवाद

    Edit: I'm amazed at the way my comment appears in the Hindi script above! I tried correcting it by trying to separate the words using the space bar but to no avail. Please treat the little boxes as space markers between words!
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  26. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you. I was n't aware of this word before. I have found examples of its usage on the net in Urdu both as "kachRaa" and "kuuRaa-kachRaa".
  27. littlepond Senior Member

    जी नहीं, गाय ही नहीं: कोई भी बदमाश|
  28. Chhaatr Senior Member

    You are welcome! You are right there is also "kuuRaa-kachRaa" which I myself use and come across in my day to day interactions.
  29. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    It's all perfectly clear and correct on my computer. So, worry not, Faylasoof SaaHib.
  30. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I wonder, just a conjecture, whether the evolution of this word has taken the following path.

    khachRaa >> kachRaa >> kachraa...

    ..in the way perhaps saaRhii has gone to saaRii and saarii.


    This thread might be a good place for literary quotes, if any exist, for these words.

    PS: I wonder what aisha93 has made of the thread so far.
  31. aisha93

    aisha93 Senior Member

    Poor me :eek:
    I didn't know this thread would bear this much fruit though most are inedible by me :rolleyes:
    But I got the answer to my question anyway

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