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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 2015. New additions are in red.


Wakf Board: the governing body of all mosques in Sri Lanka (Arabic; also India/Pakistan)
> A wakf or waqf is a religious endowment. In SLE the word is most commonly used in the context of the Wakf Board, established by the Wakfs Act of 1956, which is the governing body of all mosques in Sri Lanka (see quotes below).
At a time when there is no literature on Wakfs Law and the Procedure to be followed in case of an application to be made before the Wakfs Board or the Wakfs Tribunal the book on "The Wakfs Law Procedure and Practice" authored by A.H. Ghouzul Ameen fills a void and a long felt need in Sri Lanka. Muslims in Sri Lanka are governed by three Statutes namely: the Muslim Marriage and Divorce act No. 13 of 1951; the Muslim Mosques and Charitable Trusts or Wakfs Act No. 51 of 1956, and the Muslim Intestate Succession Ordinance No. 10 of 1931. (Daily News 16/07/04)
Religious Affairs Minister muddles Wakf Board
The Wakf board, which is the governing body of all mosques in Sri Lanka, still remains muddled in controversy over irregularities taking place in the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs, where a seven-member panel has been chosen for the board but not a chairman. The Wakf board is where all mosques, Muslims shrines, places of religious resort and charitable trust in Sri Lanka are to be registered with but is currently defunct leading many to believe it could lead to worsening tension within the Muslim community. (The Nation 30/01/11)
Complainant attacked at Wakf Board meeting (Sunday Times 26/06/11)

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)

Best thing to come out of the wala
However, she credits her passion for theatre to the mesmerizing experience of watching live performances in the Peradeniya Sarachchandra Open-air theatre, better known as the “wala”. “Every year my father took me to watch the drama festival held in the ‘wala’,” she says. (Daily News 08/01/14)

wallapatta: a type of tree (Gyrinops walla) which produces agarwood, a highly valued dark resinous heartwood used to make incense and perfumes (Sinhala)
Gyrinops walla, commonly known as Walla Patta in Sinhala, grows freely in Sri Lanka, with a small population also growing in India. Recently, it came to light that this tree produces a resinous substance called agarwood, once infected by fungi. Agarwood fetches a high price in other countries as it is used in the production of perfumes. Gyrinops walla was traditionally used for medicinal purposes. People would make use of the bark when casting broken bones, hence, its common name of Walla Patta. (Ceylon Today 23/09/12)
Walla Patta – Separating the facts from fiction (Sunday Times 16/02/14)
Wallapatta, ivory and swallow’s nests seized (Daily Mirror 01/05/15)
Walla Patta used as cash crop (Daily Mirror 02/05/15)

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)

washed off
: (2) rained off, washed out
The game was washed off midway, … (Daily News 14/01/03)
The torrential downpours experienced in the past few days washed off the first three day’s play … (Nation 16/05/10)
… after the entire first day's play on Friday was washed off by rain. (Sunday Observer 11/12/11)
Trinity-St. Anthony’s washed off (Sunday Times 15/03/15)

water buffalo: species of buffalo found in South and Southeast Asia (Bubalus bubalis)
> Water buffalo are found in the wild in Sri Lanka, and are also domesticated for agricultural use and to produce buffalo curd.
Indeed, the water buffalo has been part of the agricultural landscape in Sri Lanka for more than 1,400 years. ... Moreover, when farmers substitute tractors for water buffalo, farm communities lose a source of milk, curd, and manure. (Sunday Times 23/03/03)

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)

“As far as I know, the vernacular education is as good in Ruhuna as it is in Wayamba.” (Sinhala Only, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 174)

weera: a type of tree (Drypetes sepiaria) which is common in the dry zone jungles (Sinhala)
Bears from areas south of Madapitiya make temporary excursions to the mature forests to feed on the weera, and the road is scattered with piles of bear scats filled with weera seeds as the bears move from one ripening patch to another. In fact, sloth bear home ranges expand slightly during this time of the year, along with the ripening of the weera. (Shyamala Ratnayeke, in The Nature of Sri Lanka by Luxshmanan Nadaraja, page 203)

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)
The wells at Kollankallady were deep and his father had to draw water from a depth of more than 25 feet with the help of a well sweep. The son's part was to walk up and down on the well sweep to enable his father to draw the water out with ease in a big bucket like container woven of palmyrah fronds called "paddai" in Tamil. It was a strenuous exercise of more than three hours duration and called for a meticulous art of balancing on the well sweep which he performed with caution and vigilance to his father's satisfaction. (Daily News 29/09/01)

wetakeiya: screwpine (Pandanus), a plant commonly found at the beach (Sinhala)
They looked around for privacy and went into hiding in the Watakeiya bushes, … (Rainbows in Braille, by Elmo Jayawardena, page 105)
Wetakeiya grows in abundance and provides the raw material for the handicrafts taught here. (Sunday Times 26/03/00)

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, a whole day
Wednesday whole day I am busy.

They spent whole day happily and enjoyed themselves well. ( 23/11/11)
Rs. 8000 for whole day with 100 Km limit. ( 06/05/12)

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”.

Thirteen wounded after van crashes into embankment ( 27/03/15)


weaverbird: DELETE (common in other varieties of English)

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

worst comes to worst: DELETE (common in other varieties of English)

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