Slang: IIT Bombay Style


Almost all residential institutes/colleges have a distinct culture of their own, and an inseparable part of that culture is the slang, or "slanguage" used by the denizens. IIT Bombay has a slang all it's own, with a distinct Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay) flavor. Here is a list (albeit not an exhaustive one) of the slanguage of IITB, minus the unprintables which are a staple part of almost every sentence spoken here.


app : To app is to quit des (India) for greener pastures (!) to the west of the Atlantic. Every IITian worth his CPI (GPA) or otherwise can app. Apping is a long drawn process beginning the summer of the penultimate year of your stay on campus (note it's not the third year always; as some of you might extrapolate) and culminating in maybe a schol towards the end of your final year. The steps involved are beyond the scope of this compilation and merits a page on its own.


arbit: An abbreviation of "arbitrary", it is a very flexible word. Basically, it is used to describe something/someone that is weird/strange/not the way it should be. eg. "That guy does arbit things" or "He's an arbit guy" implies that the person being referred to is a bit on the strange side.


avoid: Besides it's dictionary meaning, this word is also used in an admonitory tone, with people shouting it whenever they get irritated. eg. If someone is watching TV and someone else turns up the radio, then the standard reply is "Avoid, boss!!". If that fails to work, then "* [at] #$%^" are always there. However, due to extreme overuse these words have lost their cutting edge and are no longer taken seriously.


"...aax": The "..aax" extension is a typical IITBism, used in any context whatsoever, from peaceaax to scopeax to nabdaax..( "nabard" will be explained later ). It has no independent existence of it's own, however, always having to be bonded to another word.


boss: A word used (1) while talking to someone who's name one doesn't know or (2) while talking to someone who's name one does know. In that context, however, it is of no particular significance, a bit like the human appendix without it's attendant problems.


breaker: Slang for "breakfast", the most important meal of the day, beacuse it was the only one that was even remotely edible. The quality of the tea varied, however, from good to detergent-flavoured.


bumps: A treat given to someone on his Birthday, when the concerned person is lifted in the air and his rear end is subjected to a series of kicks. Bumps are also a standard punishment for anyone who pains people too much with bad jokes/comments.


chinco: The Chinese joint (located outside H-8 when I joined IIT, and then moved to the NCC building), where all the DNots and Lukkhas (these terms to be explained later) used to hang out at night. Famous for serving the exact same preparation under atleast 5-6 different names.


con: Same meaning as dictionary version.


chamkaa: The literal meaning of this word is "lit up" or "glowed", but in the IITian context, it is used to indicate an understanding of something that has been just explained/said/described to you. This use probably arose from the popular cartoon image of a bulb lighting up in a person's head when he/she got an idea.


cts: An abbreviation of


clearing tensions: which is what one has when one is close to flunking a course.

crapping tensions: We all know what that means.


cack: A short version of the word "cacophony", it signifies the act of verbal communication, viz. talking. To cack is to talk ( academic discussions do not qualify ). A group of people talking is having a "cack session".


Convo: The Convocation Hall, where degrees were awarded, and more importantly, where the weekly movie was shown.


crack: This word, whatever it's sinister connotations in the "real world", has a very positive meaning in IITB. Use of this term by an IITian implies that the person is referring to somebody's ( perhaps his own ) excellent performance/stroke of good fortune. eg. "I cracked the exam"..or "I cracked a schol"..or in true IITB style, "crack maar diyaa", or "crack scene hai boss...".


crash: This word is quite well known outside IITB too..and it denotes the blissful state of slumber in which most IITians are to be found for the better part of the day.


crib: To crib is to raise objection(s) to something. In IIT cribbing is carried to great lengths by certain people, who are given the title of "cribboos" in recognition of their achievements in this field.


dayaa: A Hindi word meaning "pity", it is used in a similar sense, when people beg someone to stop what he is doing by telling him "Dayaa boss ( have pity on us )". It's also used as an adjective ( for describing something/someone that is avoidable ) e.g. "That's a dayaa Prof".


despo: A corruption of the word "desperate", eg. that guy is despo for a schol. Also used as a nickname for people having the family name "Deshpande".


dhuk: An abbreviated version of "dhakkan", which is Hindi for "cap" or "lid", it denotes a stupid person. To do "dhakkangiri" is to do something stupid.


Diro: The Director of the Institute.. the BIG BOSS


ditch: To abandon something. Usage: "Ditch maar boss.."


dnot: ( An abbreviation of "Dhandha-not" ) A dnot is someone who has absolutely nothing to do in life or has absolutely no enthusiasm for doing what he is supposed to be doing. The act of being a dnot is known as "dnotgiri".


DOSA: Dean of Student Affairs.. the guy who's supposed to be on the side of the students.. hmmmphh..


DryD:An acronym for "Dry Dinner", it was the day of the week when mildly tolerable food was likely to be served.


fart: This word has many subtle and interesting connotations, depending on the context in which it is being used. In IIT lingo, to fart means to say something patently untrue/wildly exaggerated/impossible. So when someone is farting he is essentially bullshitting big-time. Such people are known as "fartoos". Another usage of this word is: anything that is a fart Prof. ( Professor ), fart grub ( food ), fart movie/song, you name it.. anything which is not fundoo is fart.


fight: To "fight" over something means giving it your best shot. It's also used for encouraging people when they are under stress and have to do something very challenging and do it in a very short time.


freakout: To freak out is to enjoy oneself and have a really good time. A person who is fun to be with is also known as a freakout character. IITians also use this word when they are happy ( for any reason ).


freshie: Freshmen are known by this term, and shiver with terror whenever they hear it ( during their first 1-2 months in IIT), because it means that somewhere in the neighbourhood, a freshie is being summoned by his seniors for an "introduction". This is the phenomenon of ragging, which is defined in the latter half of this document. An IITian stays a freshie for his first year, after which a new batch comes to be victimized.


Freshies' Night: A ritual signifying the end of the ragging period, it consisted of certain, shall we say "trans-gender" performances by the freshies.


Freshies' Social: The "cultural" high point of the Freshie Calendar, it was an Inter-Hostel talent show, where the freshies displayed their musical and choreographic talents, accompanied by a liberal dose of double entendre.


funda/fundaes: These words are just abbreviations of the word "fundamental(s)". The funda of something means the basic principle behind it. Fundaes are just a collection of several "fundas" and the person with the best fundaes is called the "funda man".


fundoo: Anything which is good/enjoyable is "fundoo". You can have a fundoo meal, watch a fundoo movie, meet a fundoo girl ( not very likely inside the IIT campus, and almost equally improbable outside it, due to the "not very hep" reputation of IITians ). In short, it's one of those multipurpose words which creeps into almost every sentence of the average IITian.


Gaddha: This is a Hindi word which means "hole" or "ditch". IITB is located on a hill, and the nearest movie theater and suburban railway station are located at the bottom of that hill. As a result, that place is referred to as the "gaddha". However, it is more specifically used to refer to any one of the two extremely seedy and disreputable movie theaters in that area, which would be jam packed with IITians after the last day of exams/submissions and on Friday nights ( by those unfortunate ones not having any other place in Bombay to go to ). Any movie, no matter how fart it was, would draw a decent crowd on the night after the last exam got over.


general: Something or someone that's vague or mediocre. e.g. Hostels 1-8 are pretty general hostels.


ghoch: A foul-up of any kind is called a ghoch. It can also mean a defect or flaw of some sort. e.g. A ghoch in someone's reasoning. People who perform detructive acts ( keeda...explained later ) also "do ghoch".


ghodagiri: Ironically, this word means "donkey work ", whereas "ghoda" means "horse" in Hindi. Ghodagiri refers to any kind of work that's very menial and/or involves very little brainwork ( just pure effort ). Those who do this thankless work are referred to as "ghodas".


..giri: Used as a suffix to several slangs in IIT, it denotes the act of being like the person/thing/characteristic described by the slang. eg. ghodagiri (previous entry), dnotgiri etc.


give up: Give up can mean what it is supposed to, or


It can have the same meaning as "fart" in the sense of something that's bad/avoidable. eg. "That's a give up movie".

It's also used as an expression of defeat, when one realizes that one is facing impossible odds.


grub: Food, of which there was always a great shortage ( the edible variety that is ). Mess grub was there in plenty, though. The horror stories about it are legion, with each hostel having an anthology of it's own.


hadaaaaaaa....: An exclamatory remark which is characteristic of H-9 ites, it's closest English equivalent is the phrase "No Way!!". A H-9ite usually say "hadaa" when the person(s) he is talking to is (1)farting away to glory and/or (2) he generally wants to put him down, which is something for which H-9ites are notorious. Nothing beats the distinct disbelief and contempt expressed by a loud "hadaaaaa", where the last "aaaa..." can be as long as one wants it to be.


frequency: A euphemism for the number of times in one day that an ITian engages in auto-erotic activities.


hagar/hagaar: Another word for huggoo (described later ).



Hawa: Hindi word meaning "Air", it is something which every freshie is supposed to know, "hawa" being an acronym for AIR ( his All India Rank in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) ).


hawas: A Hindi word meaning "lust", it's used to describe anything that arouses feelings of that nature in IITians ( which includes a large category of things, IITians being as starved of female companionship as they are ).


Hazaar/Hajaar: It's literal meaning being 1000 ( one thousand ), this word is used to denote " a lot of " something. e.g. hazaar crowded, or hazaar tough.


HOD: The Head of Department, who is the Big Boss for students after their first year.


hog:To hog is to eat with gusto..which is what IITians do whenever people return from home after a vacation bearing sweets and sundry other edibles as tribute for the rest of the hostel inmates, especially their wingmates though, because they would make life hell for them otherwise.


hug: Hugging is the act of performing badly at something, making a stupid mistake or fouling up in general. The origins of this word, well.. they lie in one of the necessary acts which all people do in the morning..and which involves the expulsion of certain toxins from the body..I frankly don't know how the word came to mean what it does now..someone who hugs consistently is known as a huggoo.


junta: "Junta" means "The Common People" in Hindi. In IIT, any notice or act directed at everyone in general begins with the word "Junta" written on the notice or shouted out loud to attract everyone's attention.


keeda: Playing tricks on people and/or disrupting something is called doing keeda or "keedagiri". The word means "insect" in Hindi and probably started being used in it's present context by the irritation caused by some of those pesky arthropods. This word symbolizes, better than anything else the image of H-9 in IITB.


khaach: To khaach something is to cancel/remove/destroy it; e.g. The concert got khaached because nobody turned up.


KLPD: This acronym (the expansion of which cannot be written here without offending the delicate sensibilities of certain readers) is used to denote frustration, especially after one's expectations have been heightened.


kuchh bhi kyaa: This phrase ( in Bombay Hindi, typically ungrammatical ) indicates a disbelief in what the person with whom one is talking is saying. It is also used to protest against an unreasonable request/demand made by someone.


Kusha: It's a relatively new chinese restaurant opposite YP (explained later ). It wasn't there in my time, so that's all I have to say about it.


lech: An activity at which all IITians excel, leching means exactly what the dictionary defines it to be, which is the act of leering at any good-looking female who passes by.


LT: The Lecture Theatre, of which most IITians have fond memories, as being the location of the Freshies' Social, and also the place where a refreshing nap could be taken during the CS101 class.


lukkha: Another term for a Dnot, ie. a person who is a total slacker


MB: The Main Building, where the Institute's administrative and financial offices are housed, and where the omnipotent Director and Deans have their lairs.


Main-gate: Entrance to the ever-beautiful Powai and Vihar lakes of Bombay and the hill surrounding them. By bus, 45 min. from Andheri and 20 min. from Vikroli.


mug: To mug is to study/cram ..usually this activity is undertaken the night before the exam, but some people mug during other ( unseasonal ) times too..such characters are known as muggoos. However, muggoos who hug in exams are known as huggoo-muggoos.


nabard/nbd: This word's origins lie in "nervous breakdown". To take nbd over something is to get all worked up and worried about it. "Nabdus" are people who are always in this state. Such people are compulsive worriers. They need not be academic nabdus at all. In fact, there have been several people who are not in the least concerned about their grades , but go into spasms of worry before an inter-hostel sports or cultural event. So we can conclude that nabard is just a state of mind.


night out: As the name implies, a night-out is the act of staying awake the whole night, sometimes due to a cack session, sometimes due to a combination of cack and intoxicants, and sometimes due to exam nbds..


obscene: A word used to express a large amount/intensity of anything, e.g. An obscene dinner, an obscenely good grade etc. As the previous examples show, the adjective can be applied to positive things too.


ok types: Anything that is good or went off well. Basically this word can be used almost any place where a positive feeling/result is involved.


Panchii: A generic term used to refer to any general person


peace: A gesture of relief and happiness. When an IITian clears a course in which one had CTs, or when one cracks a schol,then he says, "PEACE", or "Peace ho gayaa". "Peace Life" can also be used in this context. It's close cousin "peaceful" is used to denote something easy, e.g. a peaceful exam, a peaceful prof ( one who doesn't harass his students ).


pondy: An "educational" movie, in which all the facts of life are laid bare.


pseud: A derogatory term for anybody or anything that's very heavily westernised or has pretensions to be very sophisticated.


Punter: Another variant of "Panchii"


ragging: The time-honoured tradition of initiating a freshie into the IITian way of life. The process primarily involves a month or so in which the freshies are interrogated by their seniors in different ways, made to perform certain tasks ( some of which are a bit on the unpleasant side ) and in general given a hard time, all with the noble intention of getting to know them better ( and to have a little fun in the process ). However, this glorious tradition of our alma mater has been under constant attack by the powers-that-be, and has been reduced to a pale shadow of it's former self. The knock on the door at night, the anti-ragging squad barging into one's room, and the third degree of the DAC ( Disciplinary Action Committee ) have become sad, but unfortunately true facts of life at IITB.


rg/rg-giri:Derived from the word "Relative Grading" ( supposedly ), this term defines the act of doing something for one's benefit at the expense of someone else. A good example is submitting an assignment/homework to the Professor before everyone else, and that too without informing them.


saax :saax, as the very sound of it suggests, is a positive exaggeration (!) and of anything that needs to be exaggerated, in the existing context of things. You can have a saax babe or saax course or even saax grub


Schol: What almost every IITian used to live for, and something which is still in heavy demand, a schol is essentially a composite offer of Admission and Financial Aid from a US University. For many IITians, it is the culmination of their stay in IIT.


scope/scope kyaa: A word/phrase used to characterize something as being impossible or beyond the capacities of the person talking about doing it. A very commonly used word in IIT.


shady: Something or someone which/who is not as it/he should be. e.g. A shady prof, or a shady ( avoidable ) person. It's meaning varies a bit with regard to the context in which it is used.


sidey: A word which can mean "fart" or "shady" (another one of those flexible context-dependent words).


stud: Someone who extremely good at his/her field. Yes, even females are called studs in IIT.


slog: To work really hard is to slog. Big-time sloggoos literally solg their b***s off. Thankfully for most IITians, the perecentage of sloggoos is not too high ( unlike IITM and other pretenders ), just the level required to ensure a steady supply of class notes and assignments, and not so high that everyone becomes a sloggoo due to nbds.


suck: An inevitable part of the apping process, sucking involves sending letters/emails to the Professor(s) in the US in whose fields one is interested in working ( due to those fields being well-funded ) in which the writer raves about having been interested in say "Metal Matrix Composites" since the day he was born and that nothing would give him greater satisfaction than working under him ( the Prof. ). Usually roles are reversed for Dept. toppers, with the Univs/Depts sucking up to them.


tension: Tension is an inevitable part of life in IIT, with people "taking tensions" over several things and people ( esp. Profs ) "giving tensions" for several things too. "Tense" is also used to refer to anything that is challenging or difficult. e.g. "A tense problem".


"types": This is another vestigial word that is added to sentences for no reason whatsoever. The most famous example is: "OK types". Lately "types" is often being pronounced as "taaps", a sign of the live and ever-changing nature of IITB slang.


Y-Point/YP: The gate of IIT closer to Kanjurmarg, YP was a far more heavily trafficked site than the "Main Gate", where people go only to collect their monthly cash infusions. YP boasts of the Campus bookstore, post office, and many other convenience outlets. It is also closer to the off-campus eateries, where junta is sometimes forced to go, due to the sheer inedibility of mess grub.


zeneraal: A corruption of "general". ( mostly used in H-9 )



More IIT Bombay Slang


Regional identifiers:


bong: Someone who is from the state of West Bengal. This word has become the nickname of countless bongs in IITB.


ghat: Someone from the state of Maharashtra. It's origins probably lie in the Western Ghats, those being the mountains(?) on India's West Coast.


gujju: A person from the State of Gujarat.


gult: People from Andhra Pradesh are called Gults. The origin of this word is not very clear, but the most popular version is that it originated from the word "Telugu", which is the language spoken by gults. "Telugu" when spelt backwords sounds like "Gulutey", which changed to "Gult" with the passage of time.


maddu/tam: Someone from the state of Tamil Nadu. "Maddu" has originated from the capital city Madras.


Mallu: A person from the state of Kerala. Origin lies in Malayalam, the language spoken in the state.


panju: A Punjabi ( someone from dee istate of Panjaab ).


Sporting abbreviations:


baddy: Badminton


basky: Basketball


footer: Football


volley: Volleyball



Old-timer slang


Canti: A generic term for the Hostel Canteen..


Commie: Anyone who is opposed to migrating to the US of A, even after spending 71/2 gruelling(??) semesters in IIT.


ET: The species inhabiting the first bench of classes, especially in the Computer Science (CS) Department.


Correction from Sanjay Jain (CS,'87): ET was a single person and not a species. The fact that he always sat in the first bench in the class had nothing to do with this name, it was given during a wild dance in H9 during his freshie days.


GKR: Ganne ka ras (sugarcane juice for you pseuds)


Jing-Bang: Context-sensitive, whatever you take it to mean when you use it.


koi bhi: Used derogatively (and to some measure enviously) to denote a person not deserving of a crack in acads or with some fundu chick. Also used to denote a person of little importance generating a lot of awaaj.

Courtesy: Neville Gai (Bawa, class of 1988)


Mount: A truncated version of "Mountaineering", it used to stand for the Mountaineering Club and for junta who had enthu for the activity. Unfortunately, the Club is no longer in existence.


Rainbow: Canteen near H-1, closed down sometime in 1990.

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