1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Babu

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BABU, a native Indian clerk. The word is really a term of respect attached to a proper name, like "master" or "Mr," and Babu-ji is still used in many parts of India, meaning "sir"; but without the suffix the word itself is now generally used contemptuously as signifying a semi-literate native, with a mere veneer of modern education.