Sri Lankan English
Learning Sinhala
Learning Tamil
Contact Us

























Sri Lankan English - Updates B

This page contains updates to the dictionary beginning with the letter B. 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.


babul, babul beeda: an illegal imported variety of betel
A stock of ganja mixed babul worth nearly Rs. Two million was recovered by the police today during a raid in Wellampitiya after information gathered from a suspect. Police said that the suspect had confessed that he had hidden several kinds of intoxicants used for the manufacturing of babul including dyed arecanut, tobacco and dates in a house in Wellampitiya. The suspect was produced before the Maligakanda Magistrate Court. The police are conducting further investigations. (Daily Mirror online 21/10/10)
Small kiosks near schools that sell babul and beeda, with betel leaves, were the main contributors to the increase in oral diseases affecting school children, the Oral Health Unit of the Health Ministry warned yesterday. (Sunday Island online 28/10/10)

backhoe: a mechanical digger (also US, less common in the UK, where it is commonly referred to as a JCB)
At the time of the raid the accused was engaged in filling the land with a backhoe. (Daily Mirror 10/06/08)

Backhoe operator falls to his death (Daily News 22/07/13)

bahirawaya: a mythical deity, portrayed as a dwarf in ancient temple carvings (Sinhala)
It was just an old rock carving. A carving of a bahirawaya. … According to ancient legends bahirawayas were considered powerful spirits. (Mythil’s Secret, by Prashani Rambukwella, page 15-16)
By the time the milk had boiled over and the Naga and the Bahirava gods had accepted the offering, … (Sinhala Only, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 504)
We were told it is a face of a mythical bahirawaya … (Sigiriya & Beyond, by Neranjana Gunetilleke et al, page 314)

baila: to talk baila: (coll.) to talk nonsense
“I don’t have time to talk baila with you.” (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 27)
Government’s prime aim should be to open the eyes of the International community to see the true picture without talking Baila … with them or listening to their Baila. (Daily News 12/08/06)
While the so called international community “talks baila” of the responsibilities of the government, … ( 2006)
This is the leading economist in the UNP talking baila and doing dirty dancing. (comment on 20/08/13)
So do not talk baila every time to trick general public to fulfil your agendas. (comment on 19/05/14)
Better go home rather than talking baila. (comment on 22/06/14)
Well said, the monks who are talking baila are crooks absolute shame on the religion. (comment on 04/08/15)

bake house: bakery (esp. in company names) * Kandy Bake House

Balangoda man: an ancient human (Homo sapiens balangodensis) of whom archaeological evidence was first discovered in caves near Balangoda
Excavations in Ilukkumbura have revealed more information on our pre-historic ancestor, the Balangoda Man. ( 27/09/15)
Balangoda man is the earliest reliably dated record of anatomically modern humans in South Asia … (Sunday Observer 30/10/16)

bali, baliya: a type of thovil or exorcism ceremony including devil dancing (Sinhala)
In the night the bali drums and chanting are heard from the village. (All is Burning, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 293)
“You will become afflicted with sickness. You will get sores on your hands. Then there must be a bali for you too.” (All is Burning, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 295)
The sky was red and the great bali demon, Riri Yakka, had loomed out of the dark, towering over her life. (All is Burning, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 306)

It was Mungo who took me to her home, where the rituals of the Bali ceremonies were enacted whenever there was illness or misfortune in the family. (A Nice Burgher Girl, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 41)
The ritual slaughter of the cockbird in the Bali ceremonies, … the chanting of the exorcists as I lay sleepless in bed. (A Nice Burgher Girl, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 196)
In the old days, … the inhabitants regularly performed white-magic rituals such as bali-thovil. (Facets of Wewala, by Seneka Abeyratne, page 21)
And to dispel the ill effects of this way of thinking we must perform a baliya. … A baliya is a form of a devil dancing ceremony. (Eternally Yours, by Sybil Wettasinghe, page 41)

Bamba: (coll.) Bambalapitiya (Colombo 4)
Some fake guru in Maradana or the charm shop in Bamba probably. (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 104)

Death in Bamba school: 2 arrested (Daily Mirror 23/04/15)

bambara: giant honeybee (Apis dorsata) (Sinhala)
In the natural environment of Sigiriya, all four species co-exist. However bambara bee colonies are the most prominent and impressive, because they have large nests built hanging vertically down from projections on the rock. (Sigiriya & Beyond, by Neranjana Gunetilleke et al, page 47)
When you pause along the climb, rather than looking down, look up to see the large hanging nests of the famed bambaras (giant honey bees) of Sigiriya. (Sigiriya & Beyond, by Neranjana Gunetilleke et al, page 295)

bana maduwa: preaching hall (Sinhala)
The new bana maduwa (sermon hall) was built in 1925. (Facets of Wewala, by Seneka Abeyratne, page 17)
“I have been thinking for some time I would like to build a new bana maduwa. … Other Colombo temples have such lovely bana maduwas.” (The Hungry Ghosts, by Shyam Selvadurai, page 188)
The structure had started life during the Kandyan period as a bana maduwa (preaching hall) in quite a different location. … Its current location makes it less a bana maduwa and more an ambalama. (Sigiriya & Beyond, by Neranjana Gunetilleke et al, page 190)

bana: to talk bana: (coll.) to preach, lecture, pontificate
Because you cannot accept this reality you are talking Bana that you yourself do not really understand. ( 04/02/07)
But now he is talking “bana” on TNL. (comment on 23/10/10)
Don’t talk bana if you dont understand the basics of sinhala values…. (comment on 12/08/12)
You are talking BANA. (comment on 02/10/13)
MS is talking “Bana”. (comment on 04/07/15)

bandura: pitcher plant (Nepenthes distillatoria), a carnivorous plant which is endemic to Sri Lanka (Sinhala)
The most famous species in Sinharaja are the insectivorous pitcher plants called Bandura (Nepenthes distillatoria), which are found in disturbed soils where the nutrients have been leached away by water. (Wild Sri Lanka, by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, page 95)
Sinharaja's ground flora produces one of the most amazing ‘traps’ invented by plants to kill insects. Bandura/pitcher plant (Nepenthus species) a very common sight in Sinharaja is a carnivorous (flesh eating) plant that traps insects to meet its requirement of nitrogen. (Sunday Observer 11/12/05)
Recalling bright green Bandura which she vividly remembers from her childhood, Malani went on to say, “this plant which is named in my honour is so special because it brings two countries together. … With its beauty comes its insectivorous nature (the plant traps insects which it digests in the pitchers), making Bandura exotic in every sense … Bandura is a marvel of nature which makes us ponder over the riches nature offers.” (Island 23/11/13)

bank holiday: a holiday for banks (> mercantile holiday, public holiday)
> In the UK, a bank holiday is a public holiday – or what is called in Sri Lanka a public, bank and mercantile holiday.
Thursday 15 April: Special Bank Holiday (in lieu of day prior to Sinhala and Tamil New Year Day which falls on Sunday) (Bank Holidays for 2014:

bare-bodied: bare-chested, not wearing a shirt (suggests naked in standard usage) (SAE)
Bare-bodied farmers in paddy fields dug up the hard earth with their mammoties, … (The Flower Boy, by Karen Roberts, page 160)

Like when I saw him bare-bodied with a thread over his shoulder and a firebrand in his hand as he went around the pyre of the old man. (Shrapnel, by Neil Fernandopulle, page 27)
The young men, bare bodied, were resting after work, … (A Nice Burgher Girl, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 154)
… bare-bodied beggars, run-down shacks, ugly women bathing at a roadside tap, … (Can You Hear me Running, by Lal Medawattegedara, page 67)
… and I see Janaka, bare-bodied in a sarong … (Arathi, by Nihal de Silva, page 293)

Sitting at the foot of the tree, eating as papaw was a bare bodied little man … (Mythil’s Secret, by Prashani Rambukwella, page 96)
Logan, bare-bodied, with only a sarong around his waist and folded above his knees and tied firm with a knot, … (The Whirlwind, by Ayathurai Santhan, page 131)
A bare-bodied man emerged from the kitchen … (The Mirror of Paradise, by Asgar Hussein, page 15)

Basnayake Nilame: the secular head of a Buddhist temple (Sinhala)
Incident mars Basnayake Nilame elections (Sunday Times online 22/07/07)

batana: butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata), a small pear-shaped variety of pumpkin, also known in Sinhala as Dubai wattakka or rata wattakka
(Click here to see a photograph)
Wijesundara, while watering his Batana plantation with a huge hose, said he could earn around Rs 150,000 per month and was happy with the relationship with Cargills. (Sunday Times 05/03/06)
‘Batana’ farmers exploited by middlemen (Island 31/10/11)

Batticaloa Tamil: a Tamil from the Eastern Province; also the Tamil dialect spoken by the Batticaloa Tamil community (> Jaffna Tamil, Sri Lankan Tamil, upcountry Tamil)
> Although Trincomalee is the capital of the Eastern Province, Batticaloa is considered the centre of east-coast Tamil culture and identity.
Further, the Jaffna Tamils acted on behalf of the state as civil administrators and officials in the Eastern Province and established their dominance. As a result the Batticaloa Tamils learned to regard the peninsula Tamils and their motives with deep suspicion. (The Broken Palmyra, by Rajan Hoole et al, page 340)

Battle of the Blues (= Royal-Thomian): the annual cricket match between Royal College and St Thomas’ College (> big match)
Thomians on top after first day of 136th Battle of the Blues ( 13/03/15)

bees’ honey: honey from bees, as opposed to coconut honey and kitul honey
Ambitious move to stop bees honey imports
An effort is being made to boost Sri Lanka’s bees honey production with a view to stopping imports from India and Australia. A project to provide bees honey for preparation of ayurvedic drugs is to be initiated by the Ayurvedic Community Service under the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine. The dearth of bees honey as an ayurvedic drug producing raw material has proved a major obstacle for the Ayurvedic Drugs Corporation and other drug manufacturers. (Island 19/01/09)
CBL to launch medicinal garlic in pure bees honey (Sunday Times 02/08/09)
Bees Honey offered to the Sacred Tooth Relics
Sri Lanka’s indigenous community has offered Bees Honey to the Sacred Tooth Relics in Kandy. The Indigenous community including its Chief Uruwarige Wannila Aththo offered fresh Bees Honey obtained from the Bimtenna Forest and also paid homage to the Sacred Tooth Relics. ( 09/08/11)

Benedictine (Ben): a student or former student of St. Benedict’s College, Colombo (> Royalist)
Benedictines to the fore in Athletics (Daily News 14/05/16)
Bens, Ladies emerge champs (Daily Mirror 25/10/16)

berava: the ‘drummer’ caste, a low caste (equivalent of Tamil paraiyar) (Sinhala) (> caste)
The father and son drumming duo stand quiet. They are a remarkably long-limbed and lithe pair, and we wonder if this is true to their Beravaya caste. Century upon century, generation after generation, the Beravaya people have been summoned from the nearby village of Nagalagama, to keep the beat of a thousand ceremonies. (The Line of Lanka, by Sunela Jayewardene, page 129-30)
Berava are an equivalent Sinhalese caste of Tamil Paraiyar. Their original function was categorized as drum or tom tom beaters, usefully in ritual contexts. Etymologically the Sinhalese word Bera is derived from Tamil Parai. It is plausible that Berava are descendants of a service caste imported from South India by early Sri Lanka settlers to fulfill certain ritual roles. (Sunday Observer 05/09/04)

betel box: a traditional box containing betel leaf, arecanut and chunam (lime paste) for the preparation of betel
In front the zinc-topped counter is flanked by a betel box and stacks of heart-shaped green bulath leaves neatly stacked stem on stem, groove on groove. (Monkfish Moon, by Romesh Gunesekera, page 116)
… tooled betel boxes, … (The Hamilton Case, by Michelle de Kretser, page 16)
There were the king's silver plates, cups and saucers and gold betel box. (Sunday Observer 10/02/02)

bhakthi gee: Buddhist songs traditionally sung on Vesak and Poson poya days (Sinhala)
A Poson bhakthi gee ceremony was held at Temple Trees yesterday ... (Daily Mirror 21/06/08)

Janadhipathi Balika Vidyalaya, Nawala held a Bhakthi Gee programme on Poson Poya day. (Daily News 24/06/14)

Bharatha: a member of a minority Catholic community of South Indian origin
In spite of restrictions, Indian traders including Bharathas, Parsis and Chettiars were influential in the export-import, internal retail and the itinerant trade of Sri Lanka. The Bharathas belonged to a Catholic community from Tuticorin who were involved in the local liquor trade from the early 19th century. (Nobodies to Somebodies, by Kumari Jayawardena, page 10)

… getting married … to a known Bharatha boy from a known good family, a boy with blood and a name that went back across the salt-and-pearl water to Rig Veda times, whence first their people had come to Ceylon. (Beggar’s Feast, by Randy Boyagoda 284)
The Bharathas of Sri Lanka were recognised as a separate community for the first time in the Census carried out in July this year. (Sunday Times 09/12/01)
Only recently The Colombo Chetties and The Bharatha's who are all Tamil speaking were given their own identities. ( 30/07/12)

bhootaya: a dead spirit (Sinhala)
Scholaris observed a skeleton with a huge stomach that was being eaten by a bhootaya. (Theravada Man, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 247)

“These Pakis bowl like bhoothayas.” (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 203)

birth anniversary
: birthday, esp. of someone who has died (SAE) (> death anniversary)

The 66th birth anniversary of charismatic film star-turned-politician Vijaya Kumaratunga falls on October 9. (Daily Mirror 03/10/11)
The 100th birth anniversary of the late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike was marked on Thursday. ( 07/04/16)

Bishopian: a student or former student of Bishop’s College, Colombo (> Bridgeteen, Familian, LC-ite, Musaeite, Shepherdian, Visakhian)
The Bishopian goalie, who was ill positioned to deal with the looping ball, could only flail helplessly at it as it lodged into the top corner of her net. (Sunday Times 28/11/10)
Some past Bishopians met at Rohini Jayewickreme’s home for a day of fun and frolic reminiscent of our schooldays. (Daily Mirror 11/11/15)

biso kotuwa: valve pit, valve tower; a granite structure which controls the outflow of water from a tank, and also acts as a silt trap (Sinhala)
> The biso kotuwa is considered to be one of the major engineering feats of the builders of the ancient tanks of Sri Lanka.
… restoration work undertaken in 1950 uncovered the old biso kotuwa and remnants of the bund dating to the early Anuradhapura period. (Sigiriya & Beyond, by Neranjana Gunetilleke et al, page 110)

Black July: July 1983, the month of anti-Tamil riots in Colombo and elsewhere, generally seen as the start of the war in Sri Lanka
Black July: more than two decades later, I think that almost every Sri Lankan Tamil knows what it means. (Love Marriage, by V.V. Ganeshananthan, page 16)

… having been transported abroad just two years after her mother died in Black July. (A Little Dust on the Eyes, by Minoli Salgado, page 76)
The riots and pogroms of Black July, which had begun four days before the planned date of the auction, left the city devastated and cowering in terror. (Ceylon Tea: The Trade that Made a Nation, by Richard Simon, page 228)

black pork curry: Sri Lankan style spicy pork curry
… after a heavy, late lunch of yellow rice and black pork curry. (The Ceaseless Chatter of Demons, by Ashok Ferrey, page 54)
Barefoot Cafe has a knack for making it on to our top lists and this time around it’s with their rendition of black pork curry. ( 12/02/15)

blue magpie: a large blue and brown bird (Urocissa ornata), endemic to Sri Lanka, and commonly seen in the Sinharaja rainforest
One of the most spectacular birds of Sri Lanka, the Blue Magpie inhabits dense, virgin forests of the wet zone and the hill country. It is between a House Crow and a Mynah in size. Its gorgeous blue and chestnut plumage seen against a backdrop of verdant green is a sight to behold. (

Blues (= SLFPers): members of the SLFP (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) (> Greens)
Blues hold special meeting at ‘Ape Gama’ (Nation 15/02/15)
The two blues who are battling to gain control of the Opposition Leadership, are pointing to another battle of sorts that is taking place outside parliament. (Island 03/04/15)

body wash (2): car wash
Get a 50% off on a complete body wash for your Car, Van or Jeep with tyres polished and the interior vacuumed, … (

bonda: a spicy deep-fried snack (Tamil) (SAE)
We had obviously taken a bit too much chilli that day, probably hidden in the bondas, large boluses filled with spiced potatoes. (Accha House and Umma House, by Asiff Hussein, page 183)
The food items on offer are dosai, masala dosai, gee dosai, onion dosai, parata, idly, poori, chapathy, vadai and bonda. (Daily News 07/03/11)
Or the cook would make for us Potato Bhondas, as only he knew how. (Daily Mirror 04/04/15)

booruwa (= donkey): fool, idiot, ass (Sinhala) (> gona)
How can this booruwa run the Ministry of Education? (comment on 10/13)
However, Gota is more smarter than these Yahapalanaya “Booruwas” who introduced this undemocratic process. (comment on 04/08/15)
The present regime is composed of very many booruwas. (comment on 26/11/15)
This is what happens when BOORUWAS get to vote! (comment on 04/02/17)

boru karaya: (coll.) liar, dishonest person (Sinhala) (> karaya)
“He’s a real boru karaya.” (A Little Dust on the Eyes, by Minoli Salgado, page 17)
This person has become number one boru karaya in SLFP. (comment on 01/09/12)
… his private secretary who serves as his interface with the public is a ‘boru karaya’. (Island 13/09/14)

boru show, boru shok (= pada show): (coll.) a false display, affectation, ostentation (Sinhala: boru = false)
“You have to put all these boru shows for survival.” (No Return, by Rajitha Dissanayake, translated by Hasini Haputhanthri and Gihan de Chickera, page 34)
Bush & Co. have managed to put on what Sri Lankans would call ‘boru-shok’, or a grand public display … (Sunday Island online, 31/07/05)
Clearly the focus in the training programme was on boru shok, not on efficiency. (Nation online, 04/11/07)
The people are greatly inconvenienced by these boru show politicians … (UNP website, 10/01/08)
This BORU SHOW WON´T last long Mr MR. (comment on, 31/08/10)

UNP, JVP slam Govt. over Rs. 26 bn Deyata Kirula boru show (Island 01/01/13)
Jayasuriya and his two prodigies are an alternate source of authority to Mahela and Sanga boru show. (Island 22/06/13)
The "Boru Show" is having a huge detrimental effect in our long term cricket both on and off the field. (comment on 24/06/13)
The recent practice of assuming duties preceded by priestly prayers and flanked by wife, children and, when available, grandchildren – all before TV cameras, is a shameful display of hypocrisy and ‘boru shoke’. (Sunday Times 13/09/15)

bothal karaya (= bottle man): (coll.) a man who collects bottles and old newspapers for recycling (Sinhala)
Then there was the bothal karaya. ... That morning they had hidden themselves in the dense foliage of the tree till the bottle man was just passing the gate. (The Far Spent Day, by Nihal de Silva, page 11)

“… our bothal karaya’s nephew. Young fellow, twenty years old.” (Questions of Travel, by Michelle de Kretser, page 63)
These were Botal-Pattara Karayas, Bottle and Paper People involved in the recycling business, humble folk who themselves did not realize the important role they played in keeping the environment clean. (Accha House and Umma House, by Asiff Hussein, page 252)

boys: the boys (= our boys): (coll.) the Sri Lankan cricket team
The boys are so dedicated and they play so much for the people of this country that even I stop … to watch a bit of the matches on television every day. (The Banana Tree Crisis, by Isankya Kodithuwakku, page 105)
“If the boys continue with this form of course then it’s a sure-shot.” (No Return, by Rajitha Dissanayake, translated by Hasini Haputhanthri and Gihan de Chickera, page 41)
When she walked on the streets, she heard the roar of the fans as ‘the boys’ whacked another six out of the stadium. (Strange Fruit, by Afdhel Aziz, page 118)

Brahmin: a devout high-caste Hindu; Hindu priests are traditionally from the Brahmin caste (from Sanskrit) (SAE)
In following this custom, the first son becomes a Brahmin, who can partake in all the rituals of the funeral. (Love Marriage, by V.V. Ganeshananthan, page 280)
As a Brahmin who has opted to retain his caste title Iyer (in contrast to Nehru who opted to drop his caste title of Pandit, the Kashmiri equivalent of the Tamil Iyer), Rameshwara Iyermay not be a totally disinterested scholar. (Sunday Leader 28/09/14)
How slim was the difference between the caste-adhering Brahmins and the caste-adhering Sangha? (Sinhala Only, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 277)
As a Brahmin, and thus a strict vegetarian, Sharma had had the courage to sit only by Sivan during lunch time. (Rails Run Parallel, by Ayathurai Santhan, page 57-8)
For the opening of the new engineering and agriculture faculties in Kilinochchi in February 2014, Brahmins performed an elaborate devil-chasing ceremony the previous night, … (Palmyra Fallen, by Rajan Hoole, page 368)

break (a house): pull down, tear down, demolish
“They haven’t told us where we have to go, nor when they will come to break our houses,” said Kareema. … “If they break our house, I’ll be on the road. This is my family ancestral home,” she said. … “I used to sell garments. Now I’ve just packed everything up in case they suddenly come to break the house.” (Sunday Leader 08/05/11)

break (cobwebs): clear, get rid of, e.g. with a broom (from Sinhala verb kadanava)
Being working mothers mostly, they have little time to dust, sweep, wet mop rooms, change their children’s bed linen frequently, break cobwebs, to minimize dust and prevent dust mites getting into the pillows and bedsheets. (Nation 21/08/11)
And then Sam brightens up and says: "I can break cobwebs!" (Island 22/03/14)

breather (= lemons, short whistle): (in newspaper reports) half-time in a rugby or football match
The Sharks led 10-5 at the breather. (Sunday Times 14/12/14)
Just before the breather Japan reduced the deficit when skipper Koji Wada scampered through to score an unconverted try (7-5). ( 2009)

Bridgeteen, Bridgetine : a student or former student of St Bridget’s Convent, Colombo (> Bishopian, Familian, LC-ite, Musaeite, Shepherdian, Visakhian)
Every Bridgetine, irrespective of what post or position she holds, has the opportunity to radiate the Bridgetine spirit acquired in the formative years, in her own home and in her place of work. … The tireless efforts of all these Bridgetines and well wishers are much valued, including the many opportunities provided for fellowship among the past Bridgetines. (Island 28/02/02)
He is an “old Bridgeteen”, having begun his schooling in the Montessori there, … (Sunday Times 11/10/15)

brinjal moju (= batu moju, vambatu moju): a dish made with fried brinjals and (optionally) dried prawns or dry fish
A demure miniature quails egg hopper is courted by seeni sambol and brinjal moju. (Sunday Times 25/09/11)

buckled: (coll., dated) messed up, sabotaged (from Sinhala bakal una)
Will strike if black flag hoisting programme is buckled - HSTUA (Daily Mirror 31/12/03)
Government planned anti-Indian hartal buckled ( 24/10/08)

budu amme!, budu ammo!: holy mother! (Sinhala exclamation)
“Budu amme, but why iskolemahaththayo?” (Theravada Man, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 225)

Budhu ammo! He heard it all … (Playing Pillow Politics at MGK, by Lal Medawattegedara, page 329)
“Budu amme, Devadasa, how did that happen?” (Sinhala Only, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 327)

budu ge: shrine room containing an image of the Buddha, e.g. in a house or temple (Sinhala)
Breath that echoed slightly across the Budhu Ge. (Learning to Fly, by Shehani Gomes, page 156)
Scholaris was singing and plucking flowers to place at the Buddha’s feet in their budu ge. (Theravada Man, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 200)

But nothing compares to the paintings in the little budhu-ge tucked away under the rock on the second terrace. (Sigiriya & Beyond, by Neranjana Gunetilleke et al, page 82)

buffalo (= gona): fool, idiot (> donkey, goat)
SB Calls University Students Buffaloes ( 03/11/13)
… a treacherous dictator with a proven track record and an A-Grade buffalo …
It takes one buffalo to know another buffalo!!!
Thank you very much for agreeing that the so called President is a Buffalo and the fact that an even bigger buffalo or a bunch of Gon Booruwas like you, elected such a Buffalo to office! (comments on 19/01/16)

buggalow: (hist.) a large sailing vessel used for trading in the Indian ocean (from Arabic via Marathi) (SAE)
… (lots of Maldivian buggalows sail into Galle harbour) … (Yakada Yaka, by Carl Muller, page 92)
… a Maldivian buggalow inched into its inner berth, its one big sail limp in the still air, its sides festooned with coils of rope, its hull glossy brown. (Spit and Polish, by Carl Muller, page 77)
With its buggalows, the firm did extensive trade with the Maldives and a barter trade with the Nicobar and other islands in the Indian ocean. (Nobodies to Somebodies, by Kumari Jayawardena, page 364)

Burgomaster chair: a Dutch period chair with a round seat and curved back
Among the assortment of furniture is a set of Ebony Burgomaster chairs, Rococo style, featured prominently. These chairs about twelve in all were finely carved pieces, epitomising the best of Dutch traditions. … One of the more important items of his collection, was a velvet upholstered, genuine Burgomaster chair well over 200 years old, bearing the Sinhala crown and two raging lions hand painted on it. Legend has it that this chair was presented to the Kandyan court by the Dutch court in the eighteenth century. (Sunday Times 30/11/97)

Ebony, too, seems to be a favourite and the original burgomaster chairs, four-poster beds … are all big, black, heavy and, it would seem, built for strength rather than elegance. (Colombo, by Carl Muller, page 216)
… a fine rounded Burgomaster chair for the bride, … (Beggar’s Feast, by Randy Boyagoda 283)

Burma teak: teak wood (Tectona grandis)
Every inch of the roof is Burma teak, and Burma teak is virtually indestructible. (Serendipity, by Ashok Ferrey, page 90)
Its ceiling was of Burma teak and it was roofed with flat red Calicut tiles imported from India. (Accha House and Umma House, by Asiff Hussein, page 45)
Sir Thomas Villiers spared no expense to ensure that his country home was luxurious in its appointments. The roof was covered with flat Burma teak shingles. The doors, windows, paneling, staircase and floors were also of Burma teak. (
At over 550 square feet, our Grand Suite provides luxurious comfort with Burma Teak wood floors and a Mahogany timber ceiling and panelled walls. (

bus route board: the board on a bus showing the route/destination (SAE)
Language rights in Sri Lanka: Display of bus route boards in all three languages ( 20/03/12)

bystander: a person (usually a relative) who accompanies a patient in hospital
A total of 226 patients in the company of their 139 relatives and bystanders have been brought to the Vavuniya government hospital from Puthukkudiyiruppu, Mullaittivu by UN and ICRC officials this evening (Jan 29), military sources reveal. (Ministry of Defence website, 30/01/09)
If the policy of TH Kandy is not to allow “bystanders” a solution has to be worked again meeting the Director and Consultants to accommodate them temporarily. (

In addition to the sick and the wounded, this number included what are termed bystanders, ie accompanying persons. I remembered from last year that the number of bystanders was in fact more than that of the wounded and sick, which suggested that there could not have been quite as many urgent cases in need of better medical attention as was constantly being suggested. ( 09/05/11)


baba: not only used to refer to small children; also a term of endearment between adults, like ‘darling’.

beach boy: This expression can refer simply to any boy or young man hanging out on the beach, but in SLE it is commonly used euphemistically to refer to a male prostitute.

bioscope: pronounced “biscope”

bolo folhado (not bola): a sweet made with layers of thin pastry (Portuguese)

bull’s eye: an egg fried on one side only (US ‘sunny side up’)

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.



Copyright © Mirisgala