If you’re anything like me, then you like to learn a few words whenever you visit a new country. Learning Nepali words was extra difficult for me. Because the words are written in characters (not letters like we’re used to in the U.S.) the translations are often spelled 100 different ways. Trying to read them took a lot of practice on my end. I always try to learn “Hello” “Thank you” and “Delicious.” If you know those three words and can smile, then you can survive anywhere. The thing is, so few foreigners speak Nepali, which makes speaking it even more fun. Locals rarely expect tourists to know their language and when they do it makes them giggle and laugh. It’s so easy to form immediate connections in Nepal if you learn just a few basic words and phrases. Here’s the Nepali words and sayings I use the most.
Table Of Contents
- Must Know Nepali Words
- Basic Nepali Greetings
- Manners in Nepali
- Nepali Words Used When Eating
- Respectful Nepali Words
- Nepali Words for Feelings
- Directions in Nepali
- Other Nepali expressions you may need…
- You might also like…
- Michelle Della Giovanna
If you need some help pronouncing these, I recommend downloading the “Simply Learn to Speak Nepali” app which has some recordings of basic words.
Must Know Nepali Words
- Hello – Namaste
- Please – Kri.pie.ya
- Thank you – Dhan.ya.bad
- You’re welcome – Swag.gat.tum
- Delicious – Mi.tho.cha
- Yes – Ho
- No – Hoi.na
- Beautiful – Ramro
- How much is it? – Ka.ti ho?
- I want to go to ______. – Ma _____ mah jahn chu.
- Can I take your photo? – Photo khic.nu hun.cha?
Basic Nepali Greetings
In Nepal, greetings are important. In New York, we basicallybarge up to people and start asking questions. That’s rude in Nepal. Even afteryears, I still have a really hard time remembering to go through all theniceties before beginning the actual conversation. It’s proper to always do aformal greeting of “Namaste” along with prayer hands. The higher you raise yourhands; the more respect you show. Your thumbs between your eyebrows is theultimate sign of respect. It’s also proper to bow a little.
- Hello – Na.ma.ste
- Goodbye – Na.ma.ste
- Is everything okay? – Thik cha?
- I’m okay – Thik cha
- Is everything good? – Ram.ro cha?
- I’m good – Ram.ro cha
- My name is… – Mero nom … ho
- Good morning – Shu.bha.bi.hani
- Good night – Shu.bha.rah.tri
Manners in Nepali
While most Nepali people will be ecstatic that you tried to say anything at all in Nepali, they’ll be especially happy if you say it politely. The second saying I learn in every language is “Thank you.” In Nepali, I find “Please” goes a long way as well. For instance, say a taxi is trying to charge you triple the rate. Instead of getting angry and yelling, I’ll usually say the rate that I know is fair and when they shake their head no, I’ll throw in some prayer hands and say “Please” in a sweet voice. Works every time.
- Thank you – Dhan.ya.bad
- Please – Kri.pi.ya
- You’re welcome – Swag.gat.tum
- Pardon? – Ha.jur?
- Excuse me – Excuse me (they use English)
- Can I take your photo? – Photo khic.nu hun.cha?
- Beautiful – Ram.ro
- I love your country a lot – Ma.lai ta.pie ko desh sa.rai man par.yo
Nepali Words Used When Eating
Something I love about Nepal is that asking “Have you eaten?” is the same as asking “How are you?” As someone who loves to eat and is constantly thinking about what I’ll have for my next meal, I can appreciate this connection. If you’ve eaten, it means you’re good. If you haven’t, you’ll probably be rushed to a restaurant or someone will start cooking for you. Food is important in Nepal so using some etiquette will really impress people. When you are served food in a homestay, ask the cook if you may eat. When offered seconds, it’s polite to say yes, but it’s also rude to waste food, so I recommend asking for just a little each time.
- Have you eaten? – Khah.nah khah.nu bha.yo?
- May I eat? – Kha.nah khan.chu?
- It’s delicious – Mi.tho.cha
- Give me/I’d like – De.nus
- Here/Take this – Le.nus
- A little – Ali ali
- I’m full – Bha.yo
- Hot (for food and drinks) – Ta.to
- Cold (for food and drinks) – Chi.sho
- Water – Pa.ni
- Tea – Chia
- Not spicy – Nah pi.ro
- I can’t eat … (I’m allergic to …) – May.lai kha.nu hu.dai.nah …
- How much is it? – Ka.ti ho?
Respectful Nepali Words
There is a Nepali word for every relationship there is. I won’t go into specifics but even “my aunt on my mother’s side” has a specific word. Terms of respect are important in Nepal. Using them properly shows people that you respect them and their culture. The thing is, you don’t just call your family these terms. You use them for everyone. Even strangers. Say a waiter at a restaurant (a male who is slightly older than you) brings you a drink. It would be polite to say “Thank you big brother.”
- Mother – Ama
- Father – Baba
- Grandmother – Bah.jai
- Grandfather – Bah.je
- Elder Sister – Di.di
- Younger Sister – Ba.hi.ni
- Elder Brother – Dai
- Younger Brother – Bhai
- Little Girl – Na.nu
- Little Boy – Ba.bu
- Friend – Sah.thi
Nepali Words for Feelings
One of the major attractions in Nepal is trekking in the Himalaya. While most guides speak wonderful English, it’s sometimes fun to tease each other in Nepali. My guides often skip ahead of me and look back with a big smile while asking if I’m tired. These sayings can also be helpful if you’re in a far off area where English isn’t widely spoken. Being able to tell someone you’re cold or hungry can be helpful for getting extra blankets or trying to arrange a meal.
- I’m cold – Jah.do lahg.yo
- I’m hot – Gar.mi lahg.yo
- I’m hungry – Bhok lahg.yo
- I’m thirsty – Py.as lahgyo
- I’m happy – Khu.si lahg.yo
- I’m tired – Tha.kai lahg.yo
- I’m sick – Bi.rah.mi bha.ye
Yes & No
Obviously, knowing how to say yes and no is helpful in anycountry. In Nepal, there’s a few versions of yes and no. If someone asks you “Doyou have a pen?” the answer is “Chiyna” (I don’t have.) If someone asks if youwant more food, the answer is “Bhayo” (I’m full/done). Of course, if you sayyes or no, everyone will understand what you are trying to say.
- Yes – Ho
- Okay – Huncha
- No – Hoi-na
- I don’t have – Chai.na
- Done – Bhayo
Directions in Nepali
Directions are mostly useful if you are outside a major city and are lost. I use these words with locals on trekking trails if I’m not with a guide and find myself confused. They’re also handy for taxis in major cities if you are outside the main tourist area. A helpful hint to remembering left and right is to make a “b” and a “d” with your thumb and index finger. Your left hand makes a “b” for “bhaiya” and your right makes a “d” for “daiya.” Make sure to pronounce them clearly or repeat them back to make sure you heard it properly as they sound very similar. Hand gestures help a great deal.
- I want to go to… – Ma … mah jahn chu.
- I’m lost – Ma har.aye
- Please help – Sa.ha.yog gar.nus
- Left – Bhai.ya
- Right – Dai.ya
- Straight – Sid.ha
- Uphill – U.kah.lo
- Downhill – U.ral.lo
Other Nepali expressions you may need…
“What’s to be done?” and “What happened?” are very common Nepali expressions that you may overhear people saying daily. These are just fun to know since you’ll hear them so often. Nepali people are extremely laid back so whenever something is going wrong, you’ll likely see someone shrug, say “Ke garne?” and go back to drinking their tea.
- What’s to be done – Ke gar.ne?
- What happened – Ke bha.yo?
- Oh well – Tei.ta
- One minute – Ek chin
You might also like…
Tipping in Nepal
Sim Cards in Nepal
Nepal Safety Guide
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What does Baal Ho mean in Nepali? ›
Baal Ho/ Baal Vayena
This word is probably one of the favorite Nepali slang words by everyone, and it has been widely used across the country. This expresses the speaker's indifference but in an aggressive manner. Example: Ta jey sukai gar, malai baal xaina!
Explanation: स्वागतम is Nepali translation of Welcome.How many Nepali words are there? ›
Many of these words come from other mother tongues. ' According to Upreti, the large Nepali dictionary of Pragya Pratishthan now has 60,000 words.What is mitho cha in Nepali? ›
'Mitho cha' – It's tasty.
In case the food is more than delicious add 'Dherai' before 'Mitho cha', which means the food is very tasty.
बोका n. Literally, “male goat.” It is derived from the distinguishing sexual characteristics that of a he-goat, and is used to describe a person who is lustful and desirous of sexual activity. A typical boka is willing to go to any length to fulfill his sexual needs.What does Nanu mean in Nepali? ›
Older / Younger sister, but also friendly term used to refer to other women roughly in your generation. Dhai / Bhai. Older / Younger brother, same as above. Nanu / Babu. Young girl / boy child.What does Momo mean in Nepalese? ›
Momo is a dumpling made of all-purpose flour and filled with either meat or vegetables. Inspired by Tibetan dumplings, the dish is a very popular Nepali street food. In Nepal the most common type of momos are buff (buffalo) momos followed by chicken.How do Nepali greet? ›
The traditional greeting is to press the palms of one's hands together in front of the chest and say "Namaste" (meaning "I greet the god within you"). This is accompanied with a nod of the head or a bow depending on the status of the person you are greeting. In more formal situations, one may say “Namaskar”.How do you say thank you very much in Nepali? ›
Dhan'yavāda! धन्यवाद! Thank you so much!
Nepali can be very challenging to learn due to its alphabet's unusual structure and grammar. It can be tough to begin from scratch and grasp the rudiments of the language's phrases and grammar. Here's a detailed look at the language's various features. Nepal's official language is often known as Gorkhali.
How do you say ABC in Nepali? ›
Each of the following 33 consonant letters represents a single consonantal sound and an inherent vowel, generally the sound /a/: क /ka/, ख /kʰa/, ग /ga/, घ /gʰa/, ङ /ŋa/, च /cha/, छ /chʰa/, ज /ja/, झ /jʰa/, ञ /ɲa/, ट /ʈa/, ठ /ʈʰa/, ड /ɖa/, ढ /ɖʰa/, ण /ɳa/, त /t̪a/, थ /t̪ʰa/, द /d̪a/, ध /d̪ʰa/, न /na/, प /pa/, फ /pʰa/, ...What language is close to Nepali? ›
According to exclusive phonological evidences observed by lexicographer Sir Ralph Turner, Nepali language is closely related to Punjabi, Lahnda, Hindi and Kumaoni while it appears to share some distinguishing features with the other Indo-Aryan languages like Rajasthani, Gujarati and Bangla.What does Dai mean in Nepali? ›
•Dai: Older brother. •Bahini: Younger sister. •Bhai: Younger brother.What is tea called in Nepal? ›
Chiya (commonly known as chai) is an important part of Nepali culture regardless of the caste, religion, socio-economic status, or time of the day. Most people enjoy drinking tea 2-3 times a day or at least that's how we do in my family.What is black salt called in Nepali? ›
The Black salt from Nepal, Kala namak or Bire noon is a rock salt variety with a unique salty and pungent aroma due to its sulphur content, extensively used in South Asia.What does Randi mean? ›
/raṇḍī/ nf. whore countable noun. A whore is the same as a prostitute.What does Kura mean in Nepali? ›
Noun. कुरा • (kurā) thing, matter synonyms ▲ Synonyms: चीज (cīj), वस्तु (vastu)What is FUPU Nepali? ›
Father's sister (older or younger) = Fupu (foo-poo) = फुपु Father's brother-in-law = Fupaju (foo-paa-joo) = फुपाजु Father's younger brother = Kaka (kaa-kaa) = काका Father's sister-in-law (younger brother's wife) = Kaki (kaa kee) = काकी Mother's brother = Mama (maa maa) = मामाWhat do you call wife in Nepali? ›
|English term or phrase:||wife|
|Entered by:||PRAKASH SHARMA|
1. Immediate Relations.
What do you call your girlfriend in Nepali? ›
Nepali translation: ketisathi
I want to write my girlfriend who is in Nepal, and refer to her using the Nepali word for Girlfriend. She called me 'ketasaathi'.
Gundruk. Another popular Nepalese food item, Gundruk is regarded as the national dish of Nepal. It is an assortment of pickled green-leafy vegetables which is relished as a condiment or a side dish with the main course meal.Is momo Nepali or Indian? ›
Momo is a type of steamed filled dumpling, with origins from Tibet. Momo is native to Tibet, Nepal as well as Indian Himalayan Region of Ladakh, Sikkim, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Darjeeling.What does the insult momo mean? ›
momo (plural momos) (US, slang, derogatory) A moron.How often do people shower in Nepal? ›
If you ask politely, you can have a little extra boiled water to make your bath water warmer. Because of the scarcity of this resource, it is normal for people to shower only once a week.Is Nepali friendly? ›
Firstly Nepali people are friendly, warm and welcoming people who are proud of their traditions, religion, music and culture. They have huge respect for visitors to their country; a phrase known by every Nepali is 'Guests equals God'.Can men wear shorts in Nepal? ›
Men should always wear a shirt in public, and long trousers if possible (shorts are fine on well-used trekking trails).How do you compliment a Nepali girl? ›
Say Compliment In The Nepali Language
- Beautiful- सुन्दर (Sundara)
- Wonderful- अद्भुत (Adbhuta)
- Exquisite- अति उत्तम (Ati uttama)
- Gorgeous- भव्य (Bhavya)
- Handsome- सुन्दर (Sundara)
- Attractive- आकर्षक (Ākarṣaka)
Formal Ways To Say Sorry In Nepali
Being formal, say, “I am sorry,” which translates in Nepali as “Ma du: Khī chu.” This way, you can avoid any misunderstanding while dealing with multiple people in a vast population.
Explanation: timro/tapaiko din shubha rahos, khusisanga bitos.
Do and don'ts in Nepal? ›
Before entering a Nepalese home, temple (leather items in Hindu Temples), and monastry remember to remove your shoes. 2. Avoid eating with your left hand and beef is strictly prohibited among Hindus. Do not offer food from your plate, nor eat from a common pot, and avoid touching your lips to a shared drinking vessel.What should we avoid in Nepal? ›
- Avoid Leather belts around religious places. ...
- Do not eat Beef. ...
- Do not throw plastic anywhere. ...
- Do not visit dance bar frequently. ...
- Do not wear revealing clothes. ...
- Do not wear shoes inside the temple. ...
- Do not rotate stupas in an anti-clock direction. ...
- Do not show anger in public places.
Despite the country's critical economic situation, several Nepalis have added billions to their fortune with their hard work and talent. Nepal has produced several billionaires and millionaires who occupy significant positions in the list of richest persons in the world today.What is the name of Nepal in English? ›
Nepal (English: /nɪˈpɔːl/; Nepali: नेपाल [nepal]), formally the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal (Nepali: सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल), is a landlocked country in South Asia.How to write half sha in Nepali? ›
- क /ka/ + ् /hal/ + ष /sa/ = क्ष /chhya/
- त /t̪a/ + ् /hal/ + र /ra/ = त्र /tra/
- ज /ja/ + ् /hal/ + य /ya/ = ज्ञ /gya/
Read Nepalese literature or magazines.
The more you absorb the Nepali language through any means, the faster you'll learn to speak it. There is a wealth of Nepalese periodical sites online that you can read. For example, check out a variety of newspapers at http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/nepal.htm.
The Kingdom of Nepal was established in 1768 and started a campaign of unifying what would form the modern territories of Nepal.Which country speaks the most Nepali? ›
Nepali is spoken by more than 17 million people, mostly in Nepal and neighbouring parts of India. Smaller speech communities exist in Bhutan, Brunei, and Myanmar.What does Chito mean Nepali? ›
Chito means hurry or fast. Ramro means good. You can say “Ramro” when you like or agree with something.
What does Babu mean in Nepali? ›
The title babu, also spelled baboo, is used in the Indian subcontinent as a sign of respect towards men. In some cultures, the term "babu" is a term of endearment for a loved one as well.How do you say I am fine in Nepal? ›
म ठिक छु English translation: I'm fine. Ma ṭhika chu is the answer to kasto cha. It means I'm fine.Which is the most expensive tea in Nepal? ›
Naturally enough being a double prime tea first flush golden tips is the most expensive you can buy in Nepal. With prices upwards of 12,000 rupees per kilo. Normal Ilam tea prices by comparison range from 1,500 to 2,500 rupees per kilo.What is Nepali drink? ›
Tongba is a Nepali alcohol made by pouring boiling water over cooked and fermented millet. People say that the preparation becomes more tasty with time. A pitcher can be filled several times during a party. Once it has become acidic, you know it's time to order another one.Is Nepali tea healthy? ›
There are studies that suggest that tea that is grown at higher altitudes, as in Nepal, is the healthiest (more to come on that!) Unsweetened tea is virtually calorie free and has significantly less caffeine than coffee.
Nepali Name: सिरे नून English Name: Pink salt.What is birenoon in english? ›
Bire Noon (Himalayan Black Salt)What is Kala Loon in English? ›
Black salt, also known with its many names as Kala Namak, kala loon, bire noon, Indian black salt, Sulemani namak, bit lobon, or Himalayan black salt, is a volcanic rock salt produced in the Himalayan region. It gets this name from its violet-to-black color.What does BU yah mean? ›
Interjection. boo-ya. (slang) An exclamation of joy, excitement or triumph.What does Baal mean in India? ›
In Bengali, the word "Baal" means "hair." This is the same as the meaning of the word "Baal" in Hindi, as both languages are descended from Sanskrit and have a common linguistic heritage. In Bengali, the word "Baal" is used to refer to the hair on a person's head.
What do we say Baal in English? ›
any false god or idol. Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers. Word origin. from Hebrew bá'al lord, master.How do you say Kaise Ho in Nepali? ›
In Nepali language you will say “तिमीलाई कस्तो छ?” (Timīlā'ī kastō cha?).What does Yah neh mean? ›
Ja, Nee [ya—nee—ah] Technically it means "Yes, no". The phrase is used to express agreement or confirmation with someone or something.What does boo ya ka sha mean? ›
According to Greg Cipes in an interview, "Booyakasha!" is an Irish saying that means "High Glory and love to the very moment." It is likely derived from "buíochas", which means "glory to", or its archaic version, "buidheachas".What does thank YAAA mean? ›
Interjection. thank ya. Pronunciation spelling of thank you.Who is the oldest god? ›
The Mesha Stele bears the earliest known reference (840 BCE) to the Israelite God Yahweh.Who was Baal in Bible? ›
Baʿal Berith ("Lord of the Covenant") was a god worshipped by the Israelites when they "went astray" after the death of Gideon according to the Hebrew Scriptures.Who is Asherah in the Bible? ›
Asherah, along with Astarte and Anath, was one of the three great goddesses of the Canaanite pantheon. In Canaanite religion her primary role was that of mother goddess. Canaanites associated Asherah with sacred trees, an association also found in the Israelite tradition.What country is Baal from? ›
Baal in the Levant
The Phoenician city of Baalbek (in modern-day Lebanon) was his cult center where he was worshipped with his consort Astarte, goddess of love, sexuality, and war (associated with the goddess Inanna/Ishtar, among others).
Ritualistic Baal worship, in sum, looked a little like this: Adults would gather around the altar of Baal. Infants would then be burned alive as a sacrificial offering to the deity. Amid horrific screams and the stench of charred human flesh, congregants — men and women alike — would engage in bisexual orgies.
Is Baal a Greek god? ›
Baal is the name given to the ancient Canaanite-Phoenician deity that was previously called Hadad, who was the god of fertility (childbirth) as well as rain and storms. However, the word ''baal'' means lord, and was also applied to several other deities as well as human rulers.