Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


a word meaning sweets and sweet dishes, used in India and elsewhere

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary

Origin and usage

The noun mithai comes from the Hindi word ‘mithāī’. It has been used in English since the early 19th century.


Saturday 14 November is Diwali, the festival of light celebrated by Hindus and people of other faiths. We wrote about Diwali last year, so this year it’s the turn of mithai, a term that refers to the sweets traditionally eaten at this time. Mithai has been in the Macmillan Open Dictionary since 2012, in an entry submitted by Deepak from India, so it’s high time it was promoted to the main dictionary. We have entries for many types of food from India and elsewhere, but if you spot any missing terms that are used in English too please do submit them to the Open Dictionary here.


Time to feature the first sweet on this list, which is obviously gulab jamun! You just can’t imagine celebrating Diwali without [them].

No Indian festival or celebration is complete without a plateful of mithai.

Related Words

dal, gulab jamun, paratha, thali

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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