Weight or Weightage? [Singaporean, Indian English]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by timebomb, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. timebomb

    timebomb Senior Member

    Singapore, English
    It's me again :D

    In Singapore, one often hears and reads of the word "weightage". Just the other day, I was filling in my work performance appraisal form and in the column where they rate how important is the duty and how difficult it is to hit the target, the word "weightage" is used. In conversations, people use "weightage" in such a context - for instance, "The Prime Minister is an important person so his opinion carries more weightage."

    I checked but there's no such word in my dictionary.

    I think "weightage" is a Singaporean word but a friend says it's an acceptable English word as it means "weighted average". Shouldn't it be simply "weight"?
  2. daviesri Senior Member

    Houston, TX
    USA English
    I have never heard of "weightage" being used, but then again I am in the US. I would say, "the opinion of the Prime Minister carries more weight". You will have to see what those in the UK say to get the BE point of view.
  3. GenJen54

    GenJen54 Senior Member

    Downright Pleasant, USA
    USA - English
    I concur with daviesri in that I have never heard the term "weightage." I, too, am from the US.

    Weightage is defined as: a weighing factor assigned to compensate for a perceived disadvantage.

    When I googled the term, I noted that it is used broadly in reporting economic indeces, particularly in the stock market and/or commodities trading.

    In the sentence given, "...his opinion carries more weight," the implied meaning here is import/importance. As such, weightage would be out of context.

    Again, however, we should pay heed to what our friends from the UK have to say on the matter, if their opinion differs.

    Good Luck!
  4. modgirl Senior Member

    USA English, French, Russian
    One more US citizen who definitely votes for weight as opposed to weightage. I don't believe I've ever heard the (latter) word.
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    You may be OK, timebomb, although this is a very specialised term.

    The assignment of a weighting factor to compensate for some (numerical) disadvantage, esp. in favour of a sparsely populated area, or to a minority party, interest, etc.; the amount so added. (Oxford English Dictionary)

    From your examples, I suspect the word is not being used correctly - weight would be more acceptable (to me:) ).
  6. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Greetings Timebomb,

    I agree with all the other comments, but would add that in your context there is yet another option.

    In U.S. corporate jargon, one would say "weighting" rather than weight.

  7. timebomb

    timebomb Senior Member

    Singapore, English
    Thank you for all your replies.

    Your answers may vary but as far as I'm concerned, they certainly carry a lot of weight :D
  8. Tiger-Lilly New Member

    England - English
    :confused: UK citizen here and I would have to agree with the US! Haven't heard of the term 'weightage' myself
  9. rameshp New Member

    Australia English
    Hi there

    I am a native Singaporean :)

    But I live in Australia now.

    I am a project manager in an IT firm and I use "weightage" in our Project Management lingo all the time.

    For example assigning weightage to impact and probability in Risk Management.

    I use the American Project Management methodology, and hence it could be originated from the US.

    If its not English, its Singlish, Indlish, Amerilish, or just foolish :)

    Create your word and who knows it could be included in the Oxford Dict in time.

  10. xellosu New Member

    Tamil, India
    "Weightage" is a commonly used word in India. I'd think, by the extensive usage (both written and oral; casual, professional and academic) this is a legitimate English word in India.

    This word refers to the importance of some item that is one of the components of a whole.

    Example usage:
    "He gives way too much weightage to looks, when it comes to girls"
    "The mid-semester exams carry 30% of weightage"
    "When you hire someone, do you give any weightage at all to past experience?"
  11. Word Aficionado New Member

    English, US
    The Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English includes as a main entry weightage (noun) to mean "a weighting factor assigned to compensate for a perceived disadvantage."

    November 1, 2006.
  12. Milly Member

    English, Singapore
    Another Singaporean here, giving my guess on how the word came about. "Weightage" is a word coined to express the combined meanings "weight" and "percentage", exactly as what panjandrum explained - "a weighting factor", or could it be said "the percentage significance".

    "Weightage" may be said to be more precise than "weight", and it is almost always used to describe results of surveys, polls, or risk management analysis, etc. It involves translation of figures into something more descriptive, in terms of significance or severity level, etc.

    So, timebomb, my guess is that "weightage" works perfectly fine (in S'pore, that is) in the context of your appraisal. But for describing opinions, "weight" would be more suitable.

    Now, it does seem that "weightage" is quite a useful word! Another fine example of Singaporeans' uncanny talent in condensing complex ideas into a single word. :D
  13. Mogster New Member

    India. Mayalam and English
    Another semi-Singaporean here. Wonder whether the following usage is appropriate:
    "We label the incoming statements as important, useful, trivial, pathetic, etc. And we store them away with appropriate weightage in our tired brain."
    I was actually writing that for a newspaper column here in Singapore, and was a little surprised to see "weightage" spotted as a spelling error.
  14. ValerioPak

    ValerioPak Senior Member

    Greetings to everybody,

    I know the original request for clarification was posted a long time ago. However I will add just another example.

    Weightage is very common when talking about political and institutional reforms in contemporary history of the Indian Subcontinent. As given by some dictionaries, and just as some other expert has already quoted, weightage is a "weighting factor assigned to compensate for a perceived disadvantage."

    For example as far as parlamentarian representation or separate electorates are concerned, the term weightage is used to indicate that there is a correction given as a compensation to minorities.

    This is a sentence taken from a book on Indian history:

    "Simla deputation petitions the Viceroy for separate Muslim electorates and weightage in representation."


  15. Emre Yigit New Member

    English - UK, Turkish - Istanbul
    Prime example of the evolution of language. Strictly speaking, its meaningless unless used in a very narrow sense, but is perhaps gaining respectability.

    Stranger things have happened. Just look at to sanction.
  16. arguably New Member

    Hi, I am basically from India, now living in Canada. While typing an e-mail using Ms Word, I was also surprised to find that the word weightage is not in the dictionary. I was surprise because it is of a common usage in India, while speaking or writing in English. I then googled the word and as a result I am here. In the Indian context this word in interchangeably used with the word "importance". English as a language is continuously evolving, especially with its growing popularity during the last hundred years. For example the Hindi words like "yoga", "mantra", "guru" and "avatar" are now used commonly in English. But after going through all the discussions I have concluded that it is still better to avoid the use of this word particularly in this part of the world as it may interpret a different meaning here.
  17. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    It is not impossible that 'weightage' entered Singaporean English through Indian English. Speaking as someone involved in education in Singapore, I must say that I typically see it used in the context of assessments and exams, eg 'All questions are of equal weightage' and my understanding is that 'weightage' is used when a more abstract sense is required.

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