21 Kannada Words And How They Sound in South Karnataka V/S North Karnataka

kannada words

We all know how rich is Karnataka when it comes to culture, language, and the dialects. Every part of this state is unique in its own way and is a character with a local flavor and the coherence of different slang. It is said that language changes here for every 50 kilometers and the way a particular thing is spoken in South Karnataka has a makeover that is completely different in Northern part of the state. It is very common that people from South Karnataka getting confused with the slang of North Karnataka and vice-versa is equally befuddled. Having a glimpse of North Karnataka living in Bengaluru, I would like to share a few Kannada words and how they sound in South Karnataka and North Karnataka.

Kannada Words – South Karnataka vs North Karnataka

Jaana V/s Shaanya

Meaning: Intelligent or Smart


Jaana is a widely used Kannada word for ‘Intelligent’ but if you go to North Karnataka then ‘Shaanya’ is the keyword.

Kannada words

Oodu V/s Abhyas Maadu

Meaning: Study

If I say ‘Abhyas Madu’ to any Bengaluriga then I’m sure that they won’t get me. Abhyas Madu is a word used in places like Dharwad, Hubli, Belgaum, and the nearby localities of North Karnataka.


Kannada words

Tumba V/s Bhaal

Meaning: A lot or More

It is not ‘Bahala’. It is ‘Bhaal’ and that is where the dialect of North Karnataka sound right. If you go to North Karnataka and say ‘Tumba chennagide’ then they will get it but they will think that you are a poetic material. Instead say, ‘Bahl Cholo Ada.’

North Karnataka slang words

Jaasti V/s Ragad

Meaning: More


Jassti is a Word and Ragad is an emotion for North Kannadigas. It is a word similar to Tumba and Bhaal.

Kannada words

Ivalu/Avalu V/s Iki / Aki

Meaning: She

Let me translate “Anisuthide” song from Mungaru Male to make you understand this and it goes like, “ Anisuthide yako indu, neenene nanna AKI endu.” So, Iki/Aki is a desi North Karnataka word for ‘Avalu’ which means ‘She.’


North Karnataka language

Chikkamma / Chikkappa V/s Kaaka/Kaaki

Meaning: Uncle / Aunty

Kaaka, Kaaki, Kakka (RIP to your dirty mind), Kakki, Kaaku are the authentic North Karnataka synonym for South Karnataka’s Chikkamma and Chikkappa.

Kannada words

Sankocha V/s Bide

Meaning: Hesitate

If you go to any North Karnataka home and hesitate to eat then they will say “ Thamma, Bide madkobedpa. Chennagi Thinnu.” So, Sankocha is a rich Kannada word used in poetry but Bide is equally popular in North Karnataka.


Kannada words

Ondu Vare and Deedu

Meaning: One and a half.

Deed Kilo, Deed Chapathi, Deed Ghante, Deed Kilometer are some of the locally used slang and I have taught this word to many of my Bengaluru friends and they are just loving it.

North Karnataka language

8:45 V/s Paune Ombattu

Meaning: Time zone.

In South Karnataka to say that the time is 8:45, we say entu mukkalu. However, North Karnataka has this amazingly rich word called ‘Paune Ombattu’ meaning the time is say 15 minutes to 9.

Kesari bath V/s Shira

Meaning: Sweet dish


Literal Kannada meaning of Shira is ‘Head’ but in North Karnataka, it is a synonym for South Bangalore’s Kesaribath.

North Karnataka slang words

Saradi V/s Paali

Meaning: Queue

Usually, in South and other parts of Karnataka we don’t use any particular local Kannada word for Queue but in North Karnataka, there is a word called ‘Paali’ which beautifully portrays the local dialect of Karnataka.

Kannada words

Bekantale or Khuddu V/s Muddam

Meaning: Purposefully or Myself

You don’t get to hear this often in other parts of Karnataka unless you are living in North Karnataka. Muddam and the sound of it clearly define the stature of richness that the Kannada language has.

Kannada words

Kothi V/s Mushya (black monkey) / Mangya (Red monkey)

Meaning: Monkey

“All Nodle mushya kuntaiti.” is a typical North Karnataka slang which I bet South Bangalore won’t get it unless they know about it. Let us all use this word from today and have some fun.

Kannada words

Tevlu V/s Kaditada

Meaning: F Word

“Yaakle Kaditaden sannake.” will hurt like anything and I have to say that South Kannadiga can never ever match to the F-word dictionary of a typical North Kannadiga.

North Karnataka language

Kone V/s Kholi

Meaning: Room

It is Kholi and not Kohli (Oh. What a PJ!) but seriously Kholi is a North Karnataka synonym for the Kone of South Bangalore.

Kannada words

Raje V/s Sooti

Meaning: Holiday

My South Bangalore friends faced a lot of challenges to understand my typical North Karnataka dialect and Sooti just went out of their mind.

Kannada words

Chaalak V/s Beriki

Meaning: Clever

The literal Kannada meaning of Beriki is to mix but in North Karnataka, it has totally a different sound. If a person is clever and cunning, this word is used to say that he/she has mixed thoughts and emotions.

North Karnataka slang words

Paatre V/s Bhaandi

Meaning: Utensil

Haha, this is something you all should use. How about a song “Hale Bhaandi Hale Khabna Hale paper thara Hooyi.” Yet another North Karnataka flavored word.

Kannada words

Atthige V/s Vaini

Meaning: Sister-in-Law (Wife of Elder or Younger Brother)

From today start calling your Sister-in-law as Vaini.

North Karnataka language

Ajja V/s Mutthya

Meaning: Grandfather

Muttya and Muttu have no relation and it is a typical North Karnataka word for English’s Grand Father and Karnataka’s Ajja.

Kannada words

Tarle V/s Khodi

Meaning: Naughty

Khodi is one of my favorites and Tarle is equally sarcastic and beautiful.

Kannada words

These are some of the Kannada Words and their meaning. I can go on and on like this. We also have Jaam Hannu (Guava), Byaani (Pain), Chargi (Chambu), Lagu (Soon), Gunju (Confusion) and etc.

If you know any North Karnataka words and their equivalent Karnataka words then please let us know in the comments below.

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