English edit

Etymology edit

From Hindi पक्का (pakkā, certain, sure), Punjabi ਪੱਕਾ (pakkā, mature, ripe; cooked; strong, substantial; genuine, sound, true, valid) and Urduپکا(pakkā, mature, ripe; cooked; strong, substantial; genuine, sound, true, valid), from Sanskrit पक्व (pakva, baked, cooked, roasted), from पचति (pacati, to bake, cook, roast).

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

pukka (comparative more pukka, superlative most pukka)

  1. (originally South Asia) Genuine or authentic; hence of behaviour: correct, socially acceptable or proper.
    • 1775 June 8, T[homas] B[ayly] Howell, comp., “556. The Trial of Maha Rajah Nundocomar Bahader, for Forgery. At Calcutta, in the Province of Bengal: 15 George III, a.d. 1775. [Published by Authority of the Supreme Court of Judicature in Bengal. London: Printed for T[homas] Cadell in the Strand, 1776.]”, in A Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceedings for High Treason and Other Crimes and Misdemeanors from the Earliest Period to the Present Time, with Notes and Other Illustrations, volumes XX (A.D. 1771–1777), London: Printed by T. C. Hansard, Peterborough-Court, Fleet-Street; for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, & Brown; [et al.], published 1814, →OCLC, column 1051:
      Maha Rajah said it was necessary to witness it to make it pukka; and they said so too, and then signed it.
    • 1857 December, “Art IV. A Glossary of Judicial and Revenue Terms, and of Useful Words Occurring in Official Documents, Relating to the Administration of the Government of British India, from the Arabic, Persian, Hindustani, Sanskrit, Hindi, Bengali, Uriya, Marathi, Guzarathi, Telugu, Karnata, Tamil, Malayalam, and Other Languages. By H[orace] H[ayman] Wilson, M.A.F.R.S.”, in Thomas Smith, editor, The Calcutta Review, volume XXIX, number LVIII, Calcutta: Thacker, Spink and Co., →OCLC, page 368:
      The measures which resulted in the crushing of the mutiny within the Five Rivers, were unquestionably pukka. [] Pukka and kucha statesmanship are, indeed, two things which time rarely fails to detect, just as it tries the durability of a public building or a bridge.
    • 1863, H. Broughton [pseudonym; Sir George Trevelyan, 2nd Baronet], The Dawk Bungalow; or, “Is His Appointment Pucka?” [...] Acted at Belvidere, Dec. 21, 1863, Calcutta: Published by Messrs. Thacker, Spink, and Co., →OCLC, act I, page 10:
      Mrs. S[mart].— [] Are you not aware, Fanny, that he [Lieut. Marsden] is only Acting-Assistant Sub-Deputy Inspector? Do you imagine that I should give my child to a man whose appointment was not pucka? / F[anny].—But, Mamma, is Mr. Cholmondeley's appointment pucka? / Mrs. S.—How can you talk such nonsense, child? [] Mr. Cholmondeley is a landed gentleman, and draws twelve thousand rupees a month from his estates in Derbyshire, besides holding Government paper to a large amount.
    • 1929, Margery Allingham, “Mr Watt Explains”, in The Crime at Black Dudley, London: Jarrolds, →OCLC; republished London: Vintage Books, [2015?], →ISBN, page 108:
      'No one else here?' he said. 'I thought we were going to have a pukka consultation with all the crowd present – decorations, banners, and salute of guns!'
    • 1980, Bill Oddie, Bill Oddie's Little Black Bird Book, page 74:
      But let's assume it's a real pukka rare bird.
    • 1999, K[hiam] K[eong] Seet, “Singapore Drama and Theatre in English”, in Chua Beng Huat, editor, Singapore Studies II: Critical Surveys of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Singapore: Published by Singapore University Press for the Centre for Advanced Studies, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, National University of Singapore, →ISBN, page 84:
      Among [Max] Le Blond's exhortations was the need for Singapore theatre to internalise "the conviction that our lives as Singaporeans possess the same theatrical validity, [] [as] the English literary tradition" []. This would involve ridding ourselves of a residual colonial consciousness, even at the subliminal level, and revising our perception of the vernacular idiom and local accents, hitherto regarded as non-pukka.
  2. Superior or of high quality; first-class.
    • 1875, Edwin T. Atkinson, “Irrigation from All Sources”, in Statistical, Descriptive and Historical Account of the Aligarh District. Prepared, under Orders of the Govt. of India, Allahabad: North-Western Provinces Government Press, →OCLC, page 381:
      The popular classification of wells is, however, into pukka and kuchcha. Percolation wells are usually pukka or brickbuilt. Spring wells are of three kinds—(1) pukka, where the sub-soil to the spring is sandy, and masonry is necessary througout; [] (3) kuchcha wells, made of clay throughout.
    • 1884, Rudyard Kipling, “The Gate of the Hundred Sorrows”, in Plain Tales from the Hills, Calcutta: Thacker, Spink and Co.; London: W. Thacker & Co., published 1888, →OCLC; 2nd edition, Calcutta: Thacker, Spink and Co.; London: W. Thacker & Co., 1889, →OCLC, page 267:
      Mind you, it was a pukka, respectable opium-house, and not one of those stifling, sweltering chandoo-khanas, that you can find all over the City.
  3. (Britain, slang) Excellent, fantastic, great.

Usage notes edit

  • Used in India to describe houses built with conventional high-quality materials, as opposed to inferior or kutcha houses.

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