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Sri Lankan English - Updates O

This page contains updates to the dictionary beginning with the letter O. It is divided into 2 parts: New Entries, and Comments and Corrections. Click here to return to the main updates page, or on the links on the left side of the page to go to another letter.

These pages are updated regularly; please contact me if you have any suggestions or feedback which can be included.

Latest update: December 2014. New additions are in red.


ohe: (coll.) casual(ly), careless(ly), aimless(ly), random(ly) (Sinhala)
wearing ohe clothes

old crock: vintage car
On one corner is a perfectly restored old crock, a collector's delight. (

olinda: jequirity, a plant (Abrus precatorius) with small, bright red seeds with a black tip, similar to madati seeds (Sinhala) (known in the Carribean as jumbie beads?)
> Olinda seeds are used in olinda keliya, a traditional board game known elsewhere as mancala. Variations of mancala are played throughout Africa and Asia, usually with pebbles or cowrie shells.

During trainings for the school's inter-house sports meet, the victim and two of her fellow students had eaten Olinda seeds … ( 04/02/14)
Olinda Keliya is also popular among women who live in rural villages. (Siyapatha website 11/08/12)

olu: a type of water lily (Nymphaea pubescens) (Sinhala)
(Click here to see a photograph)

> See A-Z of Sri Lankan English: N is for na tree and nil manel
He is experimenting with several other local grains and seeds including maize, green gram, jak seeds and olu seeds as well in his bakery products. (Daily Mirror 13/11/10)
Mangroves apart, the most alluring aquatic plants that greeted us on our river journey were the beautiful manel and olu - of varied hues. The rathu manel, nil manel and sudu olu were in full bloom and carpets of these flowers created an aura of a fairyland as the river wound its way through the mangroves. (Sunday Times 04/06/00)
They say that this waterfall derives its name from the likeness it bears to the white Olu flower because it's multiple falls look like the milk white petals of an Olu flower. (Sunday Observer 05/05/13)

Orange Barley: a variety of soft drink (brand name – 'barley water' in BSE)
It’s an odd funeral I think – no one serving Orange Barley, no one playing checkers and cards. (Chucking the Dragon, by Mark Wilde, page 11)

… the maid-servant brought a tray of ginger beer and orange barley out to the lovers seated on the veranda, … (The Sweet and Simple Kind, by Yasmine Gooneratne, page 601)

oruwa: a dugout canoe with an outrigger (Sinhala)
(Click here to see a photograph)

“Outsiders came to us on marakkalams and oruwas and to Dambadiva on horses and camels.” (Theravada Man, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 120)

our boys (= the boys): (coll.) the Sri Lankan cricket team; the Sri Lankan army; the LTTE
> See A-Z of Sri Lankan English: O is for our people
I don’t know much about cricket, but even I haven’t been deaf to the string of victories our boys have had in the past month. (The Banana Tree Crisis, by Isankya Kodithuwakku, page 105)
If our boys could defy the odds here, perhaps we have a shot at retaining the World Cup. (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 360)

… and in the newspaper, there were more deaths, more of our boys at the front torn in two or three. (Homesick, by Roshi Fernando, page 163-4)
“Since the late seventies they’ve taken our boys to their land and given arms training to them.” (The Whirlwind, by Ayathurai Santhan, page 90)
I want to speak to her, reassure her that despite their hard eyes and their guns, these are our boys. (Island of a Thousand Mirrors, by Nayomi Munaweera, page 140)
“Where will they find husbands like our boys?” (The Hungry Ghosts, by Shyam Selvadurai, page 119)

our one (= our friend): (coll.) an expression used to refer to another person in an indirect way (> that one, this one)
> See A-Z of Sri Lankan English: T is for this thing
“Our one can go for someone even better.”
“Our one is prettier too.”
“Our one can speak English too.” …
“Our one is a bit backward though.”
(Learning to Fly, by Shehani Gomes, page 12)

our ones (= our people):
> See A-Z of Sri Lankan English: O is for our people
“But our ones don’t you know?” (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 228)

overlook: oversee
> In BSE, to ‘overlook’ means to fail to see something, or to ignore it; to ‘oversee’ means to supervise something. The quotes below suggest that in SLE ‘overlook’ is used with both meanings.
The money will be released in stages through a Consultant Psychiatrist in Batticoloa hospital who had kindly consented to overlook this project. (College of General Practitioners of Sri Lanka website)
“Although numerous projects are in progress at this moment, we feel it would be better for a committee to overlook present and future developments,” comments Ruwan Sanjeewa. (Linea Aqua Relief Fund website)
In 1992 Mr. Bhaila was elected the first Vice District Governor. In this capacity he represented the Lions International to overlook the activities of the 65 clubs in the districts from Colombo to Jaffna. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs website)

High Profile Committee Led By Karu To Overlook UNP Election Campaign ( 07/08/14)


(= upwards): DELETE (not standard usage in SLE)

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