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I’m beginning to realize that many of my epiphanies about Play correlate with my love of words. I am lexivorous and playful in equal measure. In this instance, I have to credit Apple’s screen saver function, particularly that one devoted to dictionary entries. Just now, and too late, as I hit the password field upon opening my computer, the word pukka streamed across my screen. I’ve always loved that word but don’t think I ever nailed it in all its glory. So here you go.

Pukka (Hindi पक्का, Urdu پكّا ) literally means “cooked, ripe” and figuratively means “fully formed”, “solid”, “permanent”, “for real” or “sure”. In UK slang, it can mean “genuine” or simply “very good”. It is pronounced thusly: puck/ah, emphasis on the first syllable.

Jeez, I love what marvels have been dropped into the English language from Hindi/Urdu. From goon, as in goonda (thug) to direct imports like karma and prana, these languages have given new dimension to English. It is essential that such words continue to permeate our language, and to that end, immigration is vital, as is travel. It is ironic and sad that in fact many of the Hindi imports are the plunder of imperialism.

What was my first use of the word pukka? Don’t recollect but I feel it was exclaimed having finished spreading out a stellar picnic on a checkered cloth, in some green grassed park, on some fine summer day somewhere in the past… “Ah, this is all so very pukka!” 

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