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Sri Lankan English - Updates P

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


paan baage: a half loaf of bread (Sinhala)
As we tucked into a paang baagey, pol sambol and beef curry … (A Long Watch, by Ajith Boyagoda and Sunila Galappatti, page 7)
This guy is certainly living in the past – Probably expects this ‘paan-baage’ to cost Rs. 1.50 as well !!! (comment on 11/06/12)
… by a four-wheel drive vehicle, trishaw, motorcycle or a “paan-baage” van (the tiny van which resembles half a loaf of bread). ( 2014)

paappa: a paste made with flour and water and used as glue (Sinhala)
They carry two buckets full of pappa, a gum made out of wheat flour and hot water, cheap but ideal for pasting posters on any wall, … (Chucking the Dragon, by Mark Wilde, page 110)
There were squares of cardboard on the walls and stuck there with paappa, were a variety of things; … (The Lament of the Dhobi Woman, by Karen Roberts, page 91)

The posters were pasted on the city walls … by smearing it with paappa, a crude glue produced by adding flour to hot water, … (Accha House and Umma House, by Asiff Hussein, page 82-3)
“Once about 150 lanterns we did for Sambuddha Jayanthi celebrations were eaten by rats while they were kept piled up in the stores because we used pappa. Now we use binder gum instead,” … (Sunday Times 26/04/15)

pada show (= boru show): (coll.) a false display, affectation, ostentation (Sinhala: pada = fart)
Anyone who was there could’ve seen why the Sri Lankan blog community is one big Pada Show. (comment on 23/03/06)
Did u see how pada show Afridi try to come on Mahela Jayawardene... (comment on, 08/12/09)
… there is no "Pada show" here, Sanga is being direct here with his professional opinion, … (comment on, 13/03/10)
This is what we call ‘Boru Show’ or ‘Pada Show’ … (comment on, 10/07/10)

paddy lands: paddy fields
What attracted Sivan most was the vast paddy lands stretching beyond the barbed wire fence of the backyard … (The Whirlwind, by Ayathurai Santhan, page 138)

“Then she should have taken her paddy lands and given them to the bloody farmers!” (Sinhala Only, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 346)

paddy tax: (hist.) a tax levied on paddy farmers (> renter)
One particularly onerous form of taxation in Sri Lanka was the paddy tax, which was usually one-tenth the value of the produce payable in kind to the renter. (Nobodies to Somebodies, by Kumari Jayawardena, page 27)
Oppressive as it was, the ancient paddy-tax, which the Portuguese had inherited from the Sinhalese kings and passed on to the Dutch, remained a vital source of revenue upon which the British, in their turn, were obliged to depend. (Ceylon Tea: The Trade that Made a Nation, by Richard Simon, page 19)
Yet still the ancient, onerous paddy-tax continued to be levied, at times in the face of peasant starvation. George Wall, the revered ‘friend of Ceylon’ and founder of the Planters’ Association, had long led a campaign for its abolition, but it was not until 1894, a year after his death, that the paddy-tax was at last repealed. (Ceylon Tea: The Trade that Made a Nation, by Richard Simon, page 44)

palayakat sarong: a South Indian style cotton sarong with coloured checks on a white background
The handwoven, handprinted lungis of Pulicat became the traditional wear in the Malay Archipelago, Ceylon and the Arabian Sea islands. In fact, when I was a boy, Palayakat was virtually a generic name for sarongs in Ceylon. (The Hindu online 13/08/2007)
A colourful palei-kart sarong was the single feature that announced his presence to the world. (Can You Hear me Running, by Lal Medawattegedara, page 9)
His greased black, dirt-brown shorts … had been exchanged for a sakaramutai pink Palayacart sarong … (Rainbows in Braille, by Elmo Jayawardena, page 90)
My father is wearing a green and white checked Palayakat sarong and a white shirt. (The Moon in the Water, by Ameena Hussein, page 33)

Pali: the ancient language of the Buddhist scriptures (derived from Sanskrit)
Erudite Pali scholar and Buddhist educationist (Daily News 14/11/16)

pallang: down the pallang: (coll.) downhill, down the drain (Sinhala: pallang = slope)
Engine of growth ‘Down the Pallang?’ (Island 26/07/02)
UPFA down the pallang with UNP right behind (Sunday Leader 01/08/04)
Negotiations going down the pallang? (Island 11/02/06)
Mahela takes SL cricket down the ‘pallang’ (Island 23/04/08)
Down the pallang? No Budget, two overdrafts (Lakbima 02/05/10)

palmyrah arrack: arrack produced from the palmyrah tree
Palmyrah arrack no longer under PDB: Palmyrah arrack distilled in Jaffna, which was popular among tipplers in the South, is no longer available in Colombo after the northern distilleries producing the brew changed hands. … With the re-opening of the A9 highway, tipplers expected Palmyrah arrack to reach the South with ease, but the unexpected happened. (Island 15/08/04)

palmyrah fence: a fence made out of dried palmyrah leaves
(Click here to see a photograph)
... the heavily thatched palmyrah fences hid everything else from view. (When Memory Dies, by A. Sivanandan, page 337)
… the Renault purred smoothly between two woven palmyra fences and came to rest in front of a white-painted house. (The Sweet and Simple Kind, by Yasmine Gooneratne, page 395)
I looked out on two mango trees and behind them a palmyrah fence. (A Long Watch, by Ajith Boyagoda and Sunila Galappatti, page 84)

palmyrah flour: flour made from odiyal, the dried root of the young palmyrah tree
… the palmyrah flour out of which the 'soup' was made ... (When Memory Dies, by A. Sivanandan, page 141)

palmyrah fruit: the fruit of the palmyrah tree
(Click here to see a photograph)
I climbed up the next tree and had a close look at the palmyrah fruit, fibrous nuts like miniature coconuts, about the size of my fist. (Road from Elephant Pass, by Nihal de Silva, page 257)

… during the season when the palmyrah fruits were beginning to ripen, clusters of them, on each flower stem of the palmyrah palm. (A Nice Burgher Girl, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 308-9)
Palmyrah fruit pulp, a much sought after ingredient for many traditional Hindu new year delicacies is available from Katpaham outlets in bottled form. (Sunday Times 09/04/17)

palmyrah jaggery: jaggery produced from the palmyrah tree
Wrapped in woven palmyrah leaves, palmyrah jaggery available in handy packs is ideal with a cup of plain tea or as a sweetener. (Sunday Times 09/04/17)

panchayudha: a gold pendant with a charm (Sinhala)
The golden coloured “panchayudha” pendant serving as the centrepiece of the advertisement might make it aesthetic but Weerawansa’s message is confusing. (Sunday Times 07/03/10)
‘Panchayudha’ thief apprehended
A man who absconded for a year after stealing a 'panchayudha' valued at Rs.12,000 from a three-year-old child in Slave Island was arrested and produced in Court by the Slave Island police. (Daily Mirror 01/05/12)

pandan karaya: groveller, bumsucker (Sinhala) (> karaya)
He is the number one panthan karaya in Sri Lanka. Panthan Karaya is the vernacular for bum sucker. He holds panthans to politicians, police and customs officers. … He holds panthans morning, noon and night. … Sometimes I wonder who is worse? The panthan karaya or the politicians. … The PM, Thonda and Rauf Hakeem are the chief recipients of these panthans. … Due to the amount of panthans that this man lights at Temple Trees, it is said that the residence is not affected by power cuts. (Island 18/08/02)
I am thinking of all the lackeys and the pandam karayas who are shamelessly attracted to such people for the few crumbs that fall off their table. (comment on 12/07/12)
“We are all getting disillusioned by the way these politicians who we elect to govern the country just use their positions to only help themselves and their pandan-kaarayas.” (Sunday Times 10/01/16)

pandithaya: (coll.) a big shot (Sinhala)
“Don’t try and be pandithayas and talk big,” ... (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 218)
“No one likes an arrogant panditha bugger.” (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 280)
The owner of this pillow kept on referring to a group of people called ‘pandithayas’ who should be ‘destroyed to dust’. (Playing Pillow Politics at MGK, by Lal Medawattegedara, page 340)

pani walalu (= unduvel, undu walalu): a type of sweet consisting of deep-fried strands of batter twisted in circular coils and sweetened with honey (Sinhala)
Besides juices they also do a reliable selection of Indian sweets (try the halva or the curly pani walalu) and also offer samosas as bites. ( 17/07/12)
Undu Walalu or Pani Walalu is a sweet that originated from the central province and is prepared using Urad/Undu (Black Lentil) flour and treacle of Kithul (Jaggery Palm). (

pan kola: dried reeds used to weave mats, baskets, etc. (Sinhala)
Divul and pomegranates fill the vatties woven out of dried pan kola. (All is Burning, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 179)
Good living can be interpreted in many ways - … enjoying a tasty rice and curry with kos mallun in the shade of a kumbuk tree after a good river bath and then lying on a beautifully designed pan kola mat on the pila of a cool thatched house … (Daily News 02/02/05)
The cloth and jacket clad ‘aachchi amma’ carried a ‘pan-kola malla’ – a bag woven of reed – under her armpit to bring the things she bought. (Financial Times 07/05/16)
Celebrate this New Year in a traditional way by sending this collection of authentic Sri Lankan sweets to your friends and family in a ‘pan kola wattiya’ … ( 2017)

paraiyar: the ‘drummer’ caste, a low caste (equivalent of Sinhala berava) (Tamil) (> caste)
> The word paraya/pariah is derived from this word.
The standards of purity set forth by the Brahmanical view are so high that some caste groups, such as the Paraiyar (whose name came into English as "pariah"), have been "untouchable," barred from participation in the social functions or religious rituals of other Hindus. Untouchability also has been an excuse for extreme exploitation of lower-caste workers. (
In Jaffna Paraiyar lived in segregated settlements and were the untouchables, just as in the modern Tamil Nadu and Kerala. ( 03/01/12)

parana coat man, parana coat karaya: (dated) a man who collects old clothes for recycling (from Sinhala) (> karaya)
Most probably all those clothes had been brought there for sale by the parana coat karayas, men who go from house to house collecting suits of tweed and wool and silk sarees disintegrating with age, … (All is Burning, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 285)

In the good old days, the ‘parana coat karaya’ went from house to house exchanging aluminium or plastic kitchenware for old and nearly new clothes. (Sunday Times 07/08/16)

paraya, para (= pariah): (coll.) (n/adj) low, dirty (person), outcast, outsider (Sinhala/Tamil, from paraiyar)
… his own reference to the Commissioners as para suddhas (bastard whites) ... (When Memory Dies, by A. Sivanandan, page 21-2)
There's a problem however. We might be hard pressed to locate the non-parayas in the current political scene. (Island 24/10/01)
I really feel sad once a mighty military leader, who was admired by Tamils, and most feared by Sinhala forces, became a ‘paraya’, no body wants him anymore. (comment on 11/11/07)
All are bloody parayas from top to bottom. (comment on 03/10/12)
For India, Sri Lanka is a ‘paraya’ country. (comment on 06/02/14)

para Demala, para Demalaya: a highly derogatory term for a Tamil person (> Demala)
… the ‘parra Dhemmala’ (Tamil bastard) and his ‘low-country Sinhalese whore’. (When Memory Dies, by A. Sivanandan, page 200)
My friend Ravindra, during some spat or the other, called me a Para Thamila. (Time Will Write a Song for You: Contemporary Tamil writing from Sri Lanka, page 231)
… regarding a government official using the phrase Para Demellu during a speech … (On Sal Mal Lane, by Ru Freeman, page 283)
Para Demala! … You have no right to be here! Get out of our house!” (On Sal Mal Lane, by Ru Freeman, page 346)
The phrase "Para Demala" received much publicity in the Sri Lankan press in the recent past with various interpretations publicised subsequently. … But what cannot be denied is the psychology behind the use of the phrase "para Demala" as being derogatory. (Island 16/11/08)
Have we not heard our friends and colleagues talk about “para demalas” and talk disparagingly of them? (comment on 09/06/09)
Since when did para demalayas want to live in peace? (comment on 28/08/11)

parinibbana: parinirvana, the death of the Buddha (Sinhala)
The Buddhist world is making elaborate arrangements to celebrate Vesak - the Birth, Enlightenment and the Parinibbana of the Buddha. (Sunday Observer 06/05/12)

pasaloswaka poya: the monthly full moon poya day (as opposed to amawaka and atawaka poyas) (Sinhala) (> poya)
On Esala full moon day (this year it happened to be the 'Adhi-Esala Poya' since there were two 'Pasaloswaka Poya' days in July) … (Sunday Times 29/08/04)

patabendi: (hist.) a minor government official (Sinhala)
Pedro Perera Wijesinghe Jayasuriya was a patabendi (minor government official) of Colombo … (Nobodies to Somebodies, by Kumari Jayawardena, page 39)

patana, patna: open plain or grassland in the hill country (Sinhala)
> This is one of relatively few words of Sinhala origin that appear in the OED, with numerous references from the 19th and 20th centuries.
(Click here to see a photograph)

Mountains are its main feature, as well as rolling patna and mist that puts clouds to shame. (Spit and Polish, by Carl Muller, page 2)
... from the stunning, mist-laden patanas and montane forests of Horton Plains to the expanses of monsoon forests of Wasgamuwa; ... (Sriyanie Miththapala, in The Nature of Sri Lanka by Luxshmanan Nadaraja, page 38)
“Is someone deliberately setting the patanas alight?” (The Sweet and Simple Kind, by Yasmine Gooneratne, page 418)
Despite the early hour, tidings of the shooting on the Green had spread like a patana fire in July. (The Sweet and Simple Kind, by Yasmine Gooneratne, page 584)

The people built the pyres on the patna land and set them alight. (A Nice Burgher Girl, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 317)
… the forestry officer spoke of the diversity seen in the park due to the riverine forests and patana grasslands. (Sigiriya & Beyond, by Neranjana Gunetilleke et al, page 243)
On Horton Plains, the patna glows like new gold and herds of sambhur run for cover … (Sri Lanka: The Island from Above, by Richard Simon, page 23)
The pathana, a landscape of sloping grassland with occasional copses of scraggly trees, is home to small herds of elephants … (The Line of Lanka, by Sunela Jayewardene, page 169)
Madulsima was a lonely district cut off from Passara and Badulla by a stretch of Patna, which was very remote and desolate. … (Island 09/03/13)

pax: (number of) people (passengers, guests, customers, etc.) (also Singapore/Malaysia)
> The abbreviation pax for passengers is used in the transport industry in other varieties of English, but has entered everyday usage in other contexts in SLE, Singapore, Malaysia, etc.
… the second floor restaurant, which can accommodate up to 35 pax. ... Nearly 175 pax can be accommodated at the banquet hall. (Sunday Times 15/03/09)
Few resorts and bungalows which can accommodate 20 or more pax ( 27/01/13)
… facilities could be provided for 200 pax. (

pearl fishery: (hist.) a seasonal pearl harvest held off the north-east coast of Sri Lanka
In 1809 when a pearl fishery was held, it added 249,288 rix dollars to revenue … (Nobodies to Somebodies, by Kumari Jayawardena, page 8)

The pearl fishery at Arippu, south of Mannar, was lucrative, but the takings varied wildly from year to year and could not be depended upon. (Ceylon Tea: The Trade that Made a Nation, by Richard Simon, page 19)

peel: to peel cinnamon: to harvest cinnamon (> cinnamon peeler)
Harvesting (‘peeling’) and preparing the spice were traditional occupations assigned to specialized Sinhalese castes, whose members performed their duties unpaid, in a fashion that had not changed for centuries. (Ceylon Tea: The Trade that Made a Nation, by Richard Simon, page 7)
Since he was the final arbiter in all matters of caste, it lay within the king’s power to forbid the peeling of cinnamon altogether, but in practice this did not happen. (Ceylon Tea: The Trade that Made a Nation, by Richard Simon, page 10)

perethaya: a greedy spirit (Sinhala)
The peretayas, spirits of the departed, lurked in graveyards and desolate places. (All is Burning, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 299)
“That is the mother of my children’s mother chasing the ‘perethayas’ that come here at dusk. I have told that ignorant woman that all the perethayas have been exorcised.” (Theravada Man, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 34)
He is reborn as a peréthaya, a hungry ghost, with stork-like limbs and an enormous belly that he must prop up with his hands. The yellowed flesh of his face is seared to the skull, his mouth no larger than the eye of a needle, so he can never satisfy his hunger. … In Sri Lankan myth, a person is reborn as a peréthaya because, during his human life, he desired too much – hence the large stomach that can never be filled through the tiny mouth. The peréthayas that appear to us are always our ancestors, and it is our duty to free them from their suffering by feeding Buddhist monks and transferring the merit of that deed to our dead relatives. … My grandmother had her peréthaya stories too. (The Hungry Ghosts, by Shyam Selvadurai, page 24-5)

Their half-finished wine glasses were on the ground, and the prettas of Maha Geeni Kanda were licking those glasses with their greasy tongues. (Playing Pillow Politics at MGK, by Lal Medawattegedara, page 49)

perethi: a female perethaya (Sinhala)
In the story of the naked peréthi, a poor woman comes upon three drunken men who have fallen into an alcoholic stupor. … Many years would pass before I understood that my grandmother saw herself as that naked peréthi, marooned on an island, surrounded by so much that is good in life but unable to enjoy it. (The Hungry Ghosts, by Shyam Selvadurai, page 77)
A solitary pretti, who was hiding in a tree, hooted at Toyota Nanda. (Playing Pillow Politics at MGK, by Lal Medawattegedara, page 106)
… both prettas and prettis had infinite access to devilled beef. (Playing Pillow Politics at MGK, by Lal Medawattegedara, page 294)

Peterite (Pete): a student or former student of St Peter’s College, Colombo (> Josephian, Royalist, Thomian, Trinitian)
He was, thus, a Josephian turned Peterite. Soon, the schools developed a rivalry (as most schools do) and met in an annual cricket encounter (also as most schools do) and hordes of Peterites to this day carry blue, white and gold flags and jeer the Josephians who brandish their colours of blue, white and blue ... (Once Upon a Tender Time, by Carl Muller, page 17)
Peterite domination continues in schools Tennis for 5th consecutive year (Sunday Times 24/07/11)
In true blue spirit old Peterites worldwide came to Melbourne
Past students of St. Peter’s College around Australia and from overseas reconnected at a gala night in Melbourne on Saturday, October 1. Nearly 350 old Peterites, wives and friends got together for a night of reminiscing interspersed with skits and re-enactments of those schoolboy days. It was the second reunion in three years and the Peterite spirit and enthusiasm shone through as strongly as ever. (Sunday Times 23/10/11)
S. Thomas' shock Petes at Bamba ( 14/06/15)

PHI: public health inspector
Shortage of PHIs hinders battle against dengue (Sunday Times 02/07/17)

photo catcher: (dated and humorous) photographer
… while group photo-catchers click intermittently on digital cameras … (Firoze Sameer, Sunday Island 03/04/11)

pick balls: (in golf or tennis) to work as a ball-boy picking up balls (> ball-picker)
He had started life as a ‘Ball Boy’, picking balls at the driving range ... (The Far Spent Day, by Nihal de Silva, page 17)
Selvam’s first tennis-related activity was picking balls for his masters at this club. “Yes, I started the game when I was a ball boy.” (Island 12/04/08)
… Kalutantirige Nandasena Perera, a fine golfer who started life as a kid picking balls, graduated to be a ball boy and then a caddie, … (Sunday Observer 03/05/09)

pila: a traditional raised verandah at the front of a house (Sinhala)
A wide earthen pila extending from the foundations surrounds the house, … (The Line of Lanka, by Sunela Jayewardene, page 19)
The Rock is in a rural area, the road passing through a hamlet of mud houses which had the typical pila, a platform-like sitting arrangement for evening fellowship among the villagers over lengthy sessions of betel. (Sunday Times 14/02/10)
In the early days, the common seats were an extension of the built home, a step-like seat called a pila. This was made of brick and clay jutting out of the wall in front of the living area of a home. The Pila can still be seen in both urban and rural homes, as an architectural feature at the entrance or along the outer wall. ( 08/15)
The character of the traditional dry zone homes is reflected in the open ‘pila’ for storytelling and star gazing. ( 2015)

pilimage: Buddhist image house (Sinhala)
In the largest cave is the Pilimage, with a statue of a recumbent Buddha image. (Shirley Perera, in The Nature of Sri Lanka by Luxshmanan Nadaraja, page 95)

pin (= merit): (in Buddhism) moral credit gained through meritorious acts such as charitable deeds, alms-givings, pilgrimages, etc. (Sinhala)
“Very good, Sir, I wanted to ask you. You’ll get a lot of pin.” (Can You Hear me Running, by Lal Medawattegedara, page 39)

“It’s my pin that got me this.” (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 214)
“My Krisco tin – for you a lot of pin / If you look after me.” (Playing Pillow Politics at MGK, by Lal Medawattegedara, page 99)

pinattu: dried palmyrah fruit (Tamil)
Thal pinattu which is produced by drying of palmyrah fruit pulp in the sun, completely devoid of any artificial heating, is another treat from the Northern Peninsula, synonymous with Palmyrah, panei or thal. A base for many eats, pinattu is dipped in a mixture of palmyrah treacle and sesame/gingelly (thala) sprinkled with chili powder and pepper. (Sunday Times 09/04/17) 

pirith mandapaya: a temporary structure where a pirith ceremony is held (Sinhala)
The special dais called the mandapaya is separated from the lay people and is decorated with white crepe paper and gok kola (young coconut fronds). (Somewhere, by Vijita Fernando, page 22)
Down below in the dana shalawa a few men were constructing the pirith mandapaya using gokkola. … The pirith mandapaya was set up in a special enclosure and decorated with na leaves, flowers and other traditional items meant for the occasion. … The devotees then started crowding round the pirith mandapaya to get the pirith nool. (Sunday Times 03/07/11)

pitiya: a flat grassy plain, for example the area exposed when the water level in a tank recedes (Sinhala)
When the water levels are low, the expanding pitiya with beautiful spreading trees is a magical walk. (Sigiriya & Beyond, by Neranjana Gunetilleke et al, page 150)

pitta: (in ayurveda) bile, one of the three doshas which affect a person’s health (SAE, from Sanskrit) (> kapha, vata)
People with Pitta dosha are vivacious, smart and determined. If Pitta is balanced they tend to be warm, understanding and intelligent. Excessive Pitta can however, create irritability, jealousy and aggressiveness. (

pitta bird: Indian pitta (Pitta brachyura), a small migratory bird found in India and Sri Lanka
Traditional farmers in Sri Lanka would never prepare their fields until they heard the cry of the migratory Pitta bird (Pitta brachyura). The Pitta bird is a weak flyer that arrives in Sri Lanka in September, taking advantage of the northeast monsoon winds to aid its flight. The monsoon brings rain for the major rice cropping season in Sri Lanka, which explains why the farmer awaits the Pitta bird's signal to begin work. (Sunday Times 23/03/03)

plantation Tamil (= upcountry Tamil): a member of the Tamil community brought from South India to Sri Lanka by the British in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to work on the tea estates (> Sri Lankan Tamil)
The horse-keepers, turbaned Indian or Plantation Tamils … (Accha House and Umma House, by Asiff Hussein, page 50)
… the voting rights of the Plantation Tamils were accepted by two Lankan legislatures … but the Plantation Tamils were excluded and rendered stateless, … (Palmyra Fallen, by Rajan Hoole, page 18)
Let plantation Tamils be called Sri Lankans –PM (Sunday Observer 28/07/13)
State Needs To Take Responsibility For The Neglect Of Plantation Tamil Community (Sunday Leader 09/11/14)

pocket meeting: a small local political meeting
Unidentified gunmen opened fire at a pocket meeting of the Janatha Vimukthi Perumana (JVP)... (Sunday Times 15/06/12)

pocket out: pay (for something) out of your own pocket
He very well knew that the overly keen bidder … could not afford the goods and that he would have to pocket it out. (Accha House and Umma House, by Asiff Hussein, page 84)
If there is a loss the club will pocket out. (private email 26/11/13)
“The recruiting agents are protesting simply because they will have to pocket out this insurance fee from their personal commissions.” (Sunday Times 05/04/09)
One should not forget that clubs are benefited by sponsors but the spectators pocket out a big sum for a game as there are fans who travel to Colombo for every game. (Ceylon Today 27/07/13)
Their biggest bane is that when it comes to finances and expenses they do not get any money from the (TASL), and that they have to pocket out all expenses when it comes to overseas tours. (Sunday Observer 15/03/09)

podi: (coll.) small (Sinhala) (> loku)
‘podi’ people always gets crushed :( (comment on 26/01/08)
His “podi, podi jobs” varied from working for a Mexican family in their home, … washing dishes at a Sri Lankan restaurant; ... (Sunday Times 14/12/14)

podi (malli/nangi/duwa/putha): younger, youngest (brother/sister/daughter/son) (Sinhala) (> loku)
“So, why then is our Podi Duwa trying to work with them?” (Sunday Times 08/02/04)
But like his podi malli Nasheed Mahinda Aiya will also find his sataka and sarama pulled off by Mother India at appropriate time. (comment on 09/02/12)
While the loku putha remained in the vehicle, podi putha had got down and plucked a mango. ( 04/01/15)

podi hamuduruwo: a junior monk (Sinhala) (> loku hamuduruwo)
While one podi hamuduruwo was kept busy giving away the thread, another distributed pirith water. (Sunday Times 03/07/11)

Point Pedro vadai: a flat, crisp vadai, a speciality of Point Pedro in the Jaffna Peninsula
We’d go to our friends’ houses and fill up on Point Pedro vade. (A Long Watch, by Ajith Boyagoda and Sunila Galappatti, page 32)
The Ruling party Cabinet Minister was seen eating home made “Point Pedro vadai” brought by the TNA Woman Parliamentarian from Jaffna. ( 2015)

pol adi: (in cricket) slogging the ball, a crude batting style (Sinhala)
“Pradeep bowled googly. I hammered pol adi.” … “I suppose Lanka had enough and more pol adi batsmen,” … (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 130-1)
Master Blaster’s ‘Pol Adi’ fail to click (Island 18/11/14)
One thing about him is he is unorthodox times and seems to need to odd "pol Adi" shot. That could be a mental issue. I saw him make his debut against Dale Steyn and co and looked serene till he got out the 'pol adi'. (comment on 01/09/12)

pol dosi (= pol toffee, coconut toffee, coconut rock): a type of sweet made with coconut and condensed milk (Sinhala) (> dosi)
“Even a thalaguli or a piece of pol dosi would be divided into two, half given to me before your father ate the other half.” (Island 13/09/14)

polkatu accent: a fake accent (when speaking English) (polkatu = coconut shell)
We are … greeted by a blood-curdling polkatu accent. (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 127)
He was tired of these expatriates with their polkatu accents. (A Little Dust on the Eyes, by Minoli Salgado, page 28)

polkatu handa (= coconut shell spoon) (Sinhala; plural: polkatu handi)
This is what they done: added all these spices to chicken, fish or beef, mixed it up with a Polkatu handa, then put the lid on and start cooking, ... ( 02/07/14)
Sri-Lankan have a very short memory. It can be measured by a Polkatu Handa (Stem of a Coconut Spoon) (comment on 16/12/14)

pol toffee (= pol dosi, coconut toffee, coconut rock): a type of sweet made with coconut and condensed milk
… all sorts of sweetmeats – milk toffee, hard candy that tasted of cinnamon, and Maya’s favourite pol toffee, shards of coconut and condensed milk shaped into tiny squares that melted in her mouth. (Strange Fruit, by Afdhel Aziz, page 20)

polos mallung: a mallung made with polos (young jakfruit) (Sinhala)
… if she needed a young jackfruit to make the tongue-searing hot polos mallung that Harriet hungered for … (The Banana Tree Crisis, by Isankya Kodithuwakku, page 165)

poojafy (= pay pooja to somebody): (coll.)  to grovel, lick somebody's boots, suck up to somebody
Dear Vasu and WW - what were you doing when you two were poojafying ministers and cringing under MR. (comment on 01/05/15)

poriyal: a fried south Indian style dish (Tamil)
mutton poriyal, fish poriyal

She walked along the corridor, going past the kitchen where her maid Saro was cooking mutton porial for lunch. (All is Burning, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 309)

Portuguese Burgher: a Burgher of Portuguese descent (> Dutch Burgher)
They were Dutch burghers, the products of various intermarriages between the Ceylonese and the Dutch invaders, and had pale skin and blue eyes, unlike the Portuguese burghers, who were more swarthy and therefore looked-down-upon. (July, by Karen Roberts, page 12)
… Peterson, the Portuguese-Burgher shoemaker who hand made all my father’s shoes, … (A Nice Burgher Girl, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 432)
We estimate that there are well over 200 Portuguese Burgher families in the Batticaloa region alone … (Zeylanica, by Asiff Hussein, page 414)

pot arrack: home-brewed arrack

Besides the kasippu, he also manufactures heli arakku (pot arrack) which is a smoother hooch that is aged in clay pots, tightly sealed and immersed in the water, safe and secret until called for. (Colombo, by Carl Muller, page 72)
… a shared cup for pot arrack and palms passing beedis and betel. (Beggar’s Feast, by Randy Boyagoda, page 23)
The police and the excise men thrive, the illicit brewers prosper, legitimate taverns are stocked with adulterated pot arrack and in the village there is an abundant supply of affordable liquor at first hand, ... (Sunday Observer 29/09/02)
It must be stated at the outset of this article that much of alcohol consumed in Sri Lanka is constituted of moonshine (hooch), known in common parlance of the land as "pot arrack" and which, according to some guestimates, amounts to about 90% of the total volume of alcohol consumed in the country. (Daily News 14/05/03)
In places like Negombo, Chilaw, Kochchikade, Dankotuwa etc the distilling of pot arrack has been a long-established, and almost a cottage industry. (Island 04/07/09)

pothering: (coll.) drizzling (from Sinhala)

potta shot: (coll.) a wild shot (e.g. in cricket) (Sinhala: potta = blind)
The lowly warm bugger from down south (potta shot sanath) … is now actively doing politics ... (comment on 13/01/10)

POW: Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa
Wattala Joes meet PoW ‘B’ in final (Ceylon Today 12/09/16)
POW had a walk in the park against minnows Sri Devananda College at Moratuwa. ( 08/07/16)

Prep: (coll.) S. Thomas’ Preparatory School, Kollupitiya
Rugby: Prep and Mount old Thomians in ‘Pride of Origin’ battle for Wasim Thajudeen trophy (Sunday Times 05/08/15)
It was way back in 1989 that I was part of a Prep team that was as surprised as everyone else to beat a Mount Lavinia team at the Big Club Grounds. ( 11/08/15)

Prepite: a student or former student of S. Thomas’ Prep (> Royalist)
Over 90 old Thomians and Prepites will represent both schools … (Financial Times 21/08/14)
The pair gave the Prepites a good start and made a quick 50 runs in the first 8 overs. (Daily News 24/09/16)

pre-poya: the day before a poya day
> The term pre-poya originated in the 1960s during the period when Ceylon adopted a lunar calendar. Instead of the normal Saturday-Sunday weekend, each quarter moon was a holiday (poya), and the previous day (pre-poya) was a half-day. The days inbetween were labelled P1, P2, P3, etc. The problem was that each week had a different number of days, and the weekends were out of sync with the rest of the world. This system, which was adopted by Dudley Senanayake’s UNP government in 1966, was abandoned by Sirima Bandaranaike after the SLFP election victory in 1970.
> See A-Z of Sri Lankan English: P is for pre-poya
The pre-poya moon casts a white glow on Ari’s balcony and reflects off his bald spot. (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 79)
“Excuse me, Lewis, before I give you a date let me check with someone if this date falls on a poya or pre-poya, …” (Sinhala Only, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 227)

production: (nc) item produced in court as evidence; also productions (plural)
Court production keeper arrested
… The Production Keeper of the Galle Chief Magistrate’s Court was taken into custody on suspicion for attempting to change a stock of jewellery that were kept under his charge. It is alleged that the suspect had handed over a stock of case productions to the Court Registrar to be taken home. (Daily Mirror 06/04/12)
Apart from that, we also need to have proper facilities to store the court productions and all other facilities such as photocopy machines and computers for these courts. … To do that we need to educate them on how to keep the court production in a proper manner in order to preserve those court productions until the court hearings end. (Sunday Observer 19/08/12)
Man remanded for stealing court productions (Daily News 20/06/13)

A trial being heard into a woman’s attempt to deliver heroin to her son whilst he was in the custody of the Wadduwa Police in 2011, was postponed by the Panadura Additional Magistrate on Friday as the production of the case – two packets of heroin hidden inside a bun that had been kept in the Court’s Record Room – had been destroyed by a rat. … The productions were handed over to the Panadura Magistrate’s Court Record Room … in 2011 and he is unable to produce the productions before Court today as he was informed by the Record Keeper of the Panadura Magistrate’s Court that the productions of this case and some other cases had been destroyed by a mouse in the Record Room. (DM 23/01/17)

PTK: Puthukkuduyiruppu, a small town in the Mullaitivu District famous as the scene of the final days of the war in May 2009 (> KKS, VVT)
The Sri Lankan Army which completed the capture of PTK could have sealed off the zone and used diplomatic means to get the civilians out. (Palmyra Fallen, by Rajan Hoole, page 216)

public holiday: a holiday for the public sector (government offices, schools, etc.) but not necessarily for private companies (> bank holiday, mercantile holiday)
The government has announced that October 6 will be a public and bank holiday on account of the Haj festival. The Haj festival falls on Monday. (Daily News 04/10/14)

punt: (coll., dated) cigarette
Others went back to their halls whilst a few would make the trek to the canteen for a tea and punt and a con chat! (Island 20/06/09)

pus vedilla: a damp squib, a failed venture (Sinhala)
Hakeem’s ‘Pus Vedilla’ (Island 27/01/01)
Chandrika’s pus vedilla (Island 24/11/02)
Minister … Ranjith Siyambalapitiya chose to describe the whole debate as a “pus wedilla” – with the only intention being to embarrass the government. (Sunday Times 25/02/07)
Unfortunately, it turned out to be another “pus vedilla” of the LTTE and its treacherous accomplices. (Nation 17/06/07)
Uva had a puff of dry wind which got the Supdts all excited but it was a puss vedilla. ( 06/09)
The much controversial Darusman report of the panel will ultimately be a Pus Wedilla (false cracker). (Daily News 29/04/11)
Every one of her past Grand Pronouncements on the Inevitable Demise of Sri Lanka, the Unstoppable Rise of the LTTE etc., have turned out to be nothing more than the proverbial “Pus Vedilla”. (comment on 02/10/11)
Sajith is just like a pus vedilla (a dead cannon) trying to glow in his late father glory. (comment on 22/09/14)
The much bandied and much abused slogan of fight against corruption, the sole preoccupation of the current regime, has been at best a “pus vedilla” or something of a soda bottle syndrome, all fizz and no substance. ( 16/07/15)
Roberts dismisses the “district councils” devolution proposal of the SLFP as a “pus vedilla” … (

put: pot, pocket (a piece in carrom or a ball in pool etc.)
He can put the red (queen) at any stage before the last piece of his side is sunk. (

put on (= boru): (coll.) false, fake, affected
> In standard usage, put on is normally only used as a verb, and it must refer to a thing (such as an act or an accent which is put on) rather than to a person: He seems sincere, but it’s all put on. Her accent sounds really put on.

Sanwada Dharmasena … says the challenge for her is to maintain a put-on British accent which disappears when she is flustered. “Acting in a way to make people understand it is a put-on accent, is my biggest challenge because if you don’t show the audience that it is put-on, people will get the wrong impression the moment it goes off.” (Sunday Times 17/05/15)

put to fall: (coll.) a humorous term referring to drinking too much (till you fall over)

puthe (= putha): son (a familiar term of address) (Sinhala)
“Listen, Puthé, the man you search for is not here.” (All is Burning, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 409)
“I wanted to hear your voice Puthey.” (Sam’s Story, by Elmo Jayawardena, page 114)
“Kollo, put that hand out, my puthey” … (Stable Horses, by Vihanga Perera, page 25)
“Puthe, tell your akka to make a cup of tea …” (Theravada Man, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 116)
“What is it, Puthey, are you unwell?” (The Hungry Ghosts, by Shyam Selvadurai, page 6)


put: In BSE, the verb put normally requires a direct object (it, the keys, the money) and a place (in the car, on the table, in the drawer). In colloquial SLE either of these can be omitted:
“Take this and put in the car.” (Sam’s Story, by Elmo Jayawardena, page 170)

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