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Sri Lankan English - Updates W

This page contains updates to the dictionary beginning with the letter W. 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: September 2014. New additions are in red.


wala: student nickname for the open-air theatre at Peradeniya University (Sinhala = hole)
Scathing flood lights hitting my face as we struggle out of the wala. (Stable Horses, by Vihanga Perera, page 54)

want: to be wanting: (coll.) to want
> In BSE, want is one of several verbs (have, like, know, think, understand, etc.) which are not normally used in the continuous (-ing) form.
“… there is one Miss Klaus who is wanting to make a small, small presentation.” (The Moon in the Water, by Ameena Hussein, page 77)

water cut: disruption of mains water supply (also India etc.; less common in BSE)

36-hour water cut in Colombo and suburbs (Daily Mirror 01/08/14)

wathu sudu
: a small white flower (Ervatamia divaricata) similar to pichcha mal (jasmine) (Sinhala)
(Click here to see a photograph)
… she saw him in his tiny garden breaking wathu-suddha flowers to offer the Buddha. (Playing Pillow Politics at MGK, by Lal Medawattegedara, page 133)

Wayamba: North-Western Province (Sinhala = north-west) (> province)
“Where the Heck is that: Wayamba?” (Their Autopsy, by Vihanga Perera, page 79)

well sweep (= thula): a long pole balanced on a forked stick, with a bucket attached, used for drawing water from a deep well (common in the North of Sri Lanka)
Sivan handed over the bucket of water to Suba, while tightly holding on to the thick rope of the well-sweep in his hands. … He threw the bucket into the well and pulled the sweep down forcefully, feeling the thick rope gliding between his palms. (The Whirlwind, by Ayathurai Santhan, page 134)

wetakeiya: screwpine (Pandanus), a plant commonly found at the beach (Sinhala)

whack: (coll.) eat; drink; win
“Me and Percy were whacking the buffet.” (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 233)
We make quick work of the booze. Everyone whacks two shots, Ari and I whack four. (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 18)
They then lose to a beleaguered Pakistan, who go on to whack the cup. (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 272)

what for …: (coll.) what’s the use of …
What for being interested in those who had not been interested in me. (The Moon in the Water, by Ameena Hussein, page 140)

wheel cup: hubcap
“Junky bastards will steal the side mirrors, the wheel cups or the battery.” (Chucking the Dragon, by Mark Wilde, page 139)

who all (= who and who): (coll.) who (plural)
Who all came for the party?

whole day: (coll.) the whole day
Wednesday whole day I am busy.

wounded: hurt, injured (e.g. in an accident)
> In BSE, “wounded” is normally used only in the context of a fight or battle; a person hurt in an accident would be described as “injured”.

write: to write (e.g. a house) to somebody: to leave something to somebody in your will
The house is written to their daughter.


winkle (= bicycle repair shop): (from Dutch winkel = shop)

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.



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