In recent months, while reading Portuguese news articles, I have noticed the increasing popularity of the term "indostânico". What is the definition of "indostânico"? Has there been convergence towards a single definition?

Some use "indostânico" to refer to South Asian peoples, i.e., Subcontinentals. For example, from a not-too-recent article,

[...] mercearias e frutarias propriedade de cidadãos oriundos da Península Indostânica, ou seja, de países como a Índia, o Paquistão e o Bangladesh

Is this the only definition?

  • It surprises me that you have read these articles in recent months. It was current usage in the English language before the second world war, when India and Pakistan were part of British Indochina. –
    – Centaurus
    Aug 28, 2023 at 14:03
  • Yes, part of British Indochina. Never heard ?
    – Centaurus
    Aug 28, 2023 at 15:49
  • 1
    Although we can still find quite a few citations on British Indochina I couldn't find a definition of what countries that term comprised.
    – Centaurus
    Aug 29, 2023 at 16:24
  • 1
    Around the end of the nineteenth century, most European colonies in Asia were either British or French and they used to be referred to as British Indochina (India, Pakistan, Bengladesh, Sri-Lanka, etc) and French Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, etc). Most of these countries became independent during the first half of the twentieth centrury.
    – Centaurus
    Aug 29, 2023 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


Priberam's Portuguese dictionary gives two, related, definitions:

  1. Related to Indostão (Hindustan), part of the Indian subcontinent which includes parts of India and Pakistan;
  2. Related to Hindustani, an Indo-European language which enjoys wide diffusion in India.

It also records the variant industânico.

So it may refer either to something from that part of the Indian subcontinent, or to the language (which is generally called Hindi in India and Urdu in Pakistan).


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