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Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Urdu بدمعاش(badmāš), Hindi बदमाश (badmāś), and its source, Persian بدمعاش(badma'âš), from بد(bad, bad, evil) + معاش(ma'âš, life, livelihood), ultimately from Arabic عَاشَ(ʿāša, to live). Compare lowlife, which is a similar formation in English.



badmash (plural badmashes)

  1. (South Asia) A rogue, ruffian or miscreant. [from 19th c.]
    • 1924, EM Forster, A Passage to India, Penguin 2005, p. 102:
      ‘However big a badmash one is – if one's happy in consequence, that's some justification.’
    • 2013, Garry Douglas Kilworth, Rogue Officer:
      Once the five had left for the village, the Dutchman had immediately begun working on the badmash who had stood up to the havildar.
    • 2014, Dr. Ulhas R. Gunjal, Home, Again!: A Novel of Identity, Self-Discovery, and Tragedy:
      His wife laughed. “You'll see purdahs when we reach Port Said.” “And a bazaar?” “That's a market!” “Who's a badmash?” “A bad man is called a badmash. I'm not a badmash. Am I?”