Sikh Speak Gurmukhi to English Guide to Sikhism Words and Meanings

Top 10 Sikhism Definitions, Terms, and Topics A to Z

Sikhism has its origins in Punjab. Though devotees of Sikhism may be found in countries throughout the entire world, the vast majority of Sikhs are of Punjabi origin. Preservation and understanding of the Punjabi language and Gurmukhi script is vital to the Sikh religion and its people. Whether reading nitnem prayers, attending gurdwara worship service, performing seva and helping in the langar dining hall, celebrating gurpurab holidays or participating in important life events ceremonies such as the anand karaj wedding, its helpful to have a grasp of Gurmukhi words, and pronunciation along with English meanings.

Gurmukhi Script
Gurmukhi Script. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Wondering how to read and pronounce Gurmukhi alphabet? Gurmukhi is a simplified Sanskrit based script developed by the Sikh gurus. Similar to Punjabi, Gurmukhi is used for reading and writing Gurbani, hymns and prayers composed in a poetic language found only in Sikhism Scriptures.

The introduction to Gurmukhi script consists of characters and guides to pronunciation:

  • 35 main consonant characters
  • 6 subscript consonant characters.
  • 11 vowels, but only 10 vowel characters.
  • 5 auxiliary characters.
  • 10 numeral characters.
  • 3 punctuation marks.
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Gurmukhi Picture Dictionary
Gurmukhi Picture Dictionary. Photo © [S Khalsa]
Wondering how to pronounce Gurmukhi words? The illustrated Gurmukhi dictionary of definitions is an valuable visual aid for learning word meanings related to worship. Instructions include how to pronounce individual letters, and read words, written using Gurmukhi script. More »
Reading Paath
Reading Paath. Photo © [Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa]

Wondering how to get started in learning to read Gurmukhi and Sikh prayers? Make flash cards, play games, copy prayers, learn to read daily prayers one at a time. With practice comes progress and proficiency. After learning all of nitnem, then move on to reading from the Sikhism holy scripture Guru Granth Sahib, by yourself, or as part of a team. More »

Sikhism Books in English and Gurmukhi
Sikhism Books in English and Gurmukhi. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Wondering where to find Gurmukhi to English dictionaries, prayerbooks, and primers? English language instructions, with meanings, and translations are an important aid when learning pronunciation and recognition of Gurmukhi alphabet and required daily prayers of Sikhism.

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DIY Baby's First Prayerbook
DIY Baby's First Prayerbook. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Wondering where to find Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects promoting Gurmukhi jaikara slogans, or Sikhism khanda symbols and Sikh religion emblems?

  • Sew up baby's first prayerbook of soft pages filled with Sikh symbols for a newborn or infant.
  • Cross stitch a Gurmukhi sampler with patterns featuring Sikh emblems, symbols and slogans.
  • Get ideas for your project from Sikhism Cross Stitch Gallery
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Gurmukhi Translation Projected on Screen
Gurmukhi Translation Projected on Screen. Photo © [Khalsa Panth]

Wondering where to find English translations for popular hymns and prayers? In Sikhism, all important life events and major ceremonies are observed with worship and singing of hymns appropriate for the occasion. English translations are an invaluable aid for novices learning to understanding the divine hymns of Gurbani. More »

Blissful Anand
Blissful Anand. Photo © [Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa]

Wondering what Sikh words mean? The Sikhism glossary is an alphabetic phonetic picture dictionary of terms and topics common to Sikhism. Definitions include words and in depth meanings with English spellings and pronunciation. Vocabulary includes usage particular to Sikhism, with background and examples from scripture. Words are depicted by accompanying illustrations many of which include Gurmukhi spellings. More »

Gurpreet Love of the Enlightener
Gurpreet Love of the Enlightener. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Did you know that nearly Sikhism names are appropriate for both boys and girls? Sikh names are not only given at birth, but are sometimes taken when married, or when baptized and initiated as Khalsa. Any individual may take a spiritual name at any time.

The glossary of Sikh baby names and spiritual name offers many common names as well as combinations of names that form unique baby names from A to Z.

Secondary Sikh names and meanings include:

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Sikh Woman Preparing Aloo Tiki
Sikh Woman Preparing Aloo Tiki. Photo © [Khalsa Panth]

Wondering what Sikhism cooking terms and words mean? Punjabi cooking terms are a must know for Sikhs of all ethnic backgrounds who do seva in the langar hall. The food glossary features definitions of Punjabi words used during langar preparation:

  • Basic food terms.
  • Cooking, cookware and utensils.
  • Beverage, drinks and dairy foods.
  • Flat bread and flour.
  • Grains and rice.
  • Beans, legumes and lentils.
  • Vegetables.
  • Fruits.
  • Sweets.
  • Salty and savory snacks.
  • Spices and seasonings.
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Paathee at the Golden Temple Harmandir Sahib
Paathee at the Golden Temple, Harmandir Sahib. Photo © [Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa]

Wondering about the roles of Sikh clergy? Did you know that the services performed by Sikh clergy differ from that of a priest, or pastor. English words do not really accurately define the meanings of these 11 Sikh clergy terms:

  1. Gianni
  2. Granthi
  3. Jethadar
  4. Kathawak
  5. Kirtani
  6. Masand
  7. Paathee
  8. Panj Pyare
  9. Ragi
  10. Sevadar
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Your Citation
Khalsa, Sukhmandir. "Sikh Speak Gurmukhi to English Guide to Sikhism Words and Meanings." ThoughtCo, Aug. 22, 2016, Khalsa, Sukhmandir. (2016, August 22). Sikh Speak Gurmukhi to English Guide to Sikhism Words and Meanings. Retrieved from Khalsa, Sukhmandir. "Sikh Speak Gurmukhi to English Guide to Sikhism Words and Meanings." ThoughtCo. (accessed December 12, 2017).