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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.


waive off: waive (SAE)
He said managers at the relevant State banks have said they are yet to receive instructions on whether to waive off the loans or give the farmers more time to settle them. (Sunday Times 30/09/12)
… you stand a chance to have your entire bill waived off. (Ceylon Today 08/11/12)
25% tax paid by customers when reloading phones waived off (Sunday Leader 01/02/15)

Wakf Board: the governing body of all mosques in Sri Lanka (Arabic wakf = religious endowment) (SAE)
> 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)

wandura: one of several species of monkey, the most common of which is the grey langur (Semnopithecus priam) (Sinhala; OED wanderoo) (> rilawa)
The forest sanctuary teeming with deer, elephant, leopard and wanderoo monkeys … (A Nice Burgher Girl, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 6)
However as a farmer having all these creatures and birds around that can harm ones crops I have to be careful what I say as already the monkeys, the rilawa and the wandura have done considerable damage to my papaya crop. ( 05/06/07)

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 cut: disruption of mains water supply (SAE)

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)
“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)

wear: to wear a sari (= drape, dress): to put on a sari
“Huh, just because someone has worn a sari, ... she thinks she’s a princess.” (Paduma Meets the Sunbird, by Nihal de Silva, page 268)
She had a shower and wore a white sari … (The Mango Tree, by Anthea Senaratna, page 84)
The women were shocked, as Sujatha stood in front of them with her saree half worn. (Playing Pillow Politics at MGK, by Lal Medawattegedara, page 152)
Priya and the children would be waking up and Smrithi would have to wear her sari. Nala would drape it for her, as she had for them. (Song of the Sun God, by Shankari Chandran, page 258)

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)

We walk along the face of a rocky hill through a forest of weera, and I remark that this looks like ‘bear country’. … When their boughs are laden with tiny red berries, these short hardwood trees attract bear. (The Line of Lanka, by Sunela Jayewardene, page 140)

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)

Wesleyite: a student or former student of Wesley College, Colombo (> Royalist)
Schoolboy Cricketer of the year Wesleyite Farveez Maharoof … (Daily News 11/08/03)
Old Wesleyites annual dance (Financial Times 29/12/14)

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)

what for …: (coll.) what’s the use of …
“I’ll kick the bugger out. What for keeping?” (The Jam Fruit Tree, by Carl Muller, page 91)
“What for the telling?” (Yakada Yaka, by Carl Muller, page 32)
What for being interested in those who had not been interested in me. (The Moon in the Water, by Ameena Hussein, page 140)

“Stay and eat with us. What for going home now?” (Maudiegirl and the von Bloss Kitchen, by Carl Muller, page 8)

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

which and which: (coll.) which (plural) (> what and what)
How many pieces, which and which, whether the toilet was to be shared or separate … (Rails Run Parallel, by Ayathurai Santhan, page 83)
Several times before, I requested you to inform me from which and which universities you have obtained these appelations … ( 04/01/04)
… further foreign governments should not be allowed to decide as to which and which NGO should be assisted; … (Island 07/08/07)
Let’s go into detail about Sri Lanka water, which and which sources of Sri Lankan water are safe to drink, … ( 13/08/14)

white vanning: (also white van abduction) abducting someone in an anonymous white van; also white vanned, white vanners
Focus On Government White Vanning (Sunday Leader 15/04/12)
Some weeks ago, a group of alleged white-van abductors were intercepted by a UPFA politician and his supporters in Kolonnawa. The abductors turned out to be serving army men who claimed that they were trying to apprehend deserters. The white-vanners were handed over to the police but were released almost immediately sans an investigation or charges. The Kolonnawa incident hinted at the involvement of the armed forces in white-van abductions. (Sunday Leader 06/05/12) 
White Vanned And Still Missing (Sunday Leader 13/05/12)
The law allowing the detention of suspects for 48 hours is already through; it will not be used against white-vanners. ( 25/01/13)
Well done Sharmini, anyway please take care the white vanners will be at your door sooner or later. (comment on 12/04/13)
The saffron-thugs seem to enjoy the same sort of impunity as the White-vanners. ( 01/08/13)
‘White-vanned’ man released after protest (Sunday Times 16/02/14)
Two student leaders were ‘white vanned’ and some others were arrested. (Island 15/06/15) 
A white-vanned journalist’s story behind the headlines (Sunday Times 02/08/15)
Spotlight On White Van Abductions: A statement made by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the ‘white van’ culture during the former regime, has put the whole issue back in the spotlight. (Sunday Leader 22/11/15)
Thousands more civilians disappeared during the war in a practice that became known as “white vanning”, because of the choice of vehicle used by the security agents. (Sunday Times 06/01/16)
The return of the white van: The Tamil Guardian today reported two “white van abductions”; incidents in which unidentified persons driving a “Dolphin” van snatched individuals off the streets. … A spate of “white van” abductions in Northern Sri Lanka raises memories from the past, and does damage to Sri Lanka’s hopes for peace. ( 28/04/16)
The White-Vanning Ordeal Of Journalist-Activist Poddala Jayantha: … At the time of his “white -vanning” Jayantha was a senior journalist at “Dinamina” the Sinhala daily run by Lake House. ( 20/05/17)

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 standard usage, 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)

WPB: waste paper basket
… they’d just tear our letter up and put it in the W.P.B.” (Rannygazoo, by Yasmine Gooneratne, page 326)
All reports on HR violations are destined for the Presidential WPB. (comment on 13/08/11)

wrong: a wrong thing: something wrong (SAE)
“The ‘boys’ have done a wrong thing today,” … (The Whirlwind, by Ayathurai Santhan, page 68)


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

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