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See also: blighty



Corruption of the Hindustani विलायती (vilāytī) / وِلائتی (vilā'iyatī, foreign), which is related to Arabic ولاية (wilāyah, state, province), whence also, through Turkish, vilayet.

Sir Henry Yule and Arthur C. Burnell explained in their Anglo-Indian dictionary, Hobson-Jobson, published in 1886, that the word was used in the names of several kinds of exotic foreign things, especially those that the British had brought into the country, such as the tomato, विलायती बैंगन (vilāytī baiṅgan, literally foreign aubergine), and especially to soda water, which was commonly called विलायती पानी (vilāytī pānī, literally foreign water).

Blighty was the inevitable British soldier’s corruption of it. But it only came into common use as a term for Britain at the beginning of the First World War in France about 1915. It turns up in popular songs "There’s a ship that’s bound for Blighty", "We wish we were in Blighty", and "Take me back to dear old Blighty, put me on the train for London town", and in Wilfred Owen's poems, as well as many other places.

The sense of a minor wound comes from attributive use of the noun, as in “a Blighty wound,” “a Blighty one,” 1916.

In modern Australian usage, Old has been added, as in Old Country and Old Dart, as a sentimental reference to Britain.


  • enPR: blī'tē, IPA(key): /ˈblaɪti/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪti

Proper noun[edit]


  1. (military slang) Great Britain, Britain, or England, especially as viewed from abroad.
    • 2016, Chris Graham, Five Minutes of Amazing: My Journey Through Dementia, London: Sphere, →ISBN, page 129:
      Before I knew it, 8 August had come around and our holiday was over. As my lovely little family headed for the airport to jump ship back to Blighty, I was on the road again with fresh legs.

Derived terms[edit]


Blighty (plural Blighties)

  1. (military slang) Synonym of Blighty one
    • 2007, Frances Itani, Deafening, →ISBN:
      The ones who did get a good Blighty were returned to England.
    • 2010, Y.A. Bennett, Kiss the kids for dad, Don’t forget to write, →ISBN:
      Well maybe I'll have luck this time in the shape of a decent little “Blighty” as its[sic] the only way out of it for a while.
    • 2016, Ronald Gurner, Pass Guard at Ypres: A Novel, →ISBN:
      "Talk about Blighties——” He lifted his bandaged arm.