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IIT Bombay Slanguage

How to Understand an IITian

Campus ‘Slanguage’

Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines slang as: language peculiar to a particular group, or an informal nonstandard vocabulary composed typically of coinages, arbitrarily changed words, and extravagant, forced, or facetious figures of speech. Chamkaa kya! , whatever hi fundaa fart this is, IITB has a distinct linguistic culture of its own just like any other residential educational institute, and this culture is manifested in the form of hazaar slang that denizens of IITB speak - our “slanguage.”
Did you know that IIT slanguage had inspired a German researcher/student to write a thesis? Evelyn Richter of the Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany wrote her MA thesis, "Student Slang at IIT Madras: A Linguistic Field Study" on IITM slang in February 2006. Here are some gems we’ve managed to uncover that originate over many years on campus. As an alumnus, you have automatic copyright.
Abbreviation for arbitrary, flexible word with unlimited usage, as in: kya arbit baat kar raha hai yaar
Besides it’s dictionary meaning, this word is used to snub someone: if someone is watching a “educational program” on TV, and a guy turns on the radio, then the comment is “Avoid, boss!”
Corporal punishment meted out to someone on their birthday, job, schol, etc. Four guys lift up the lucky dude and n-people kick him in all the delicate places.
Learned people discussing abstruse subjects of great depth and import. Normally a feast of reason and flow of soul! Thought to originate from “cacophony”, but no semantic connection has been uncovered.
A cack session is a single, uninterrupted period of cacking.
And Cack-o-cack is a particularly intense cack session.
Indicates an understanding of something that has been just described to you, as in the light bulb going on in your mind.
A way of manipulating someone to do or say something they ordinarily wouldn’t – most often via transparent flattery.
Chand Shah:
A place of peace, tranquility, and meditation beyond the pipeline and behind
Hostel 4
Meaning “pity”, as in: He is a dayaa Prof!
Desperate, as in: That despo thinks about nothing but girls
Stupid person, as in: Abe dhakkan, chamka nahin kya!
Dum de re:
Pronounced dum they ray. Give me a drag.
Big-time bullshitting, or something that is bad
Anyone focused full-time on extra-curricular, non-sports, non-cultural, or leisure activities. This slang disappeared after the 80s, even though fatru numbers remained undiminished.
Excellent, brilliant, enjoyable. This word creeps into almost every sentence by an IITian, as in: uske babe fundoo hai yaar
Stranger, as in: Yeh Ghanti kaun?
Mess food: which usually was messy and awful!
Lots. From the Hindi for 1,000, used to denote “a lot of something”
Awful performance in something
Izzat Ka
Devastation of one’s ego, probably as a result of some deadly repartee from someone
Common people, us included.
Person causing disruption/irritation
Activity at which all IITians excel: which is the act of leering at any good-looking female that passes by
Originated from “nervous breakdown”, commonly referred to people who are in a
perpetual state of nabard regardless of any nabard triggering factors
General volunteer
Positively and negatively used adjective to express large amount/intensity of anything, as in: obscenely good grades
Exactly as it sounds, gesture of relief, peace is when an IITian clears a course in which he/she was caught using proxy attendance
We can’t define it, but we know it when we see it. Life “education” that was disseminated to the disciples via videos, CDs, and print. Pondy lectures used to be conducted Friday evenings with cooperation from our “scrooty” (to be introduced later). If you didn’t see one, you learned it the hard way.
Anyone who pretends to be highly westernized, pseudo-intellectual windbag
Derived from relative grading, used for people who try to get ahead of others in a mean way
Complete demolition, as in: How was the test? “Total rastaa yaar”
Ratna, RLC:
Ratna liquor store at Y-point. Usage seemed to increase the closer it got to Friday evenings
General term for any of the breathtakingly beautiful laborer woman who worked occasionally on construction projects on campus
Security officer, as in: F*** scrooty is here! Act normal!
Not likeable, as in: Kya shady Prof hai yaar!
An inevitable part of the apping process, which involves sending emails to Profs in US and raving that “Quantum Physics” is in his blood and he was born to work under his guidance
Tamanna bai, cultural festival that was held outside IIT (at the backyard of H6, close to NITIE) in December, and attracted large number of IITians despite the end-sems, to watch classical dance & festivities. Used to cost around Rs.5/show (during 2000-2001) and ended up turning many IITians broke by the end of the festival
Tu Moron Tha Yeh Maloom Tha - used a lot in the late 1970s
Compiled from contributions from Brij Agarwal (’85), Mukund Karve (’81), Rajeev Deshpande (’77), Sushil Bhatia (’66), Jude Netto (’66), Uday Nadkarni (’78), Vikas Tipnis (’74), and Vinay Karle (’96).
- Himanshu Tripathi (’01)


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