Vella, jobless, Hindi

I learned a new word sometime last week. The word is supposed to be spelt as “Vella,” and is supposed to mean, “jobless.” What is more important is that it is supposed to be a word in the Hindi language and is supposedly commonly spoken in Mumbai!

Unfortunately, I have never been aware of this term and it does not seem to be a coincidence that :

  1. the Tamil word, “Velai” means job, and
  2. it is mostly my Tamil friends who claimed that the word Vella means jobless… 

Another group who has used the term is from IIT Delhi (or Delhi in general), which would make it more of a local IITD lingo than anything else (e.g., the term Daya has a special meaning in IITB).

Someone needs to throw some light on this matter, especially, how/why people think it is a legitimate word from the Hindi language.. and if it is, then I need to find the source…

<—– Edit  —–>

From Manoj Rajgopalan (and I verified this to be correct)

“vella is a punjabi word 🙂 It is used a lot by the Punjabis in delhi and by delhi people in general” I checked that it means “in between jobs”


15 thoughts on “Vella, jobless, Hindi

  1. well, i heard this word in delhi too! and i guess it means having too much free time which mean jobless i guess.. e.g. “yaar, tu to on-call hai, main to aise hi velli hoon, main tera kaam kar dungi” or “ye kya velle jaisa yehan chakkar kyun kaat raha hai, koi kaam-dhaam nahi hai kya?”

    just so you know, i have a job and i am at work right now, par phir bhi “vellegiri” kar rahi hoon!

  2. well, I think Manoj answered the question pretty nicely. What I have failed to understand is how most Tamilians [that I know of] know of this term, and how most people in the middle part of India (Maharashtra/MP/Gujarat) don’t seem to know about it!

  3. Yet another confirmation: Our friend Amit Dhingra confirmed that “vela” is commonly used in Delhi with origins from Punjabi.

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  5. The word is actually “vehla” and it’s origin is Sindhi/Punjabi. It simply means idle/free. So, it can imply jobless. The word is still used correctly with the correct grammar in Punjabi, unlike in Hindi where it is used as a slang word. I m pretty sure that it has nothing to do with Tamil, just mingled its way into the South from Hindi slang. BTW, i m vella at work rite now and I am Punjabi.

  6. the equivalent term in tamil is “vetti” nowadays. the sindhi-punjabi hypothesis must be true. a term meaning “job” is unlikely to get adapted to mean “jobless” in another language. interestingly, “vetti” itself comes from the tamil phrase “vela-vetti” which means “jobs and chores”…

  7. it actually derives its origin from the archaic english word “velleity” meaning hoping a lot without actually putting any efforts to obtain it…in other words…jobless 😀

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