Origin of coolie
- Hindi qulī laborer perhaps ultimately from Kulī a tribe in Gujarat
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Hindustani क़ुली / قلی (qulī, “hired laborer, slave”), from Turkish köle. Other forms occur in Bengali kuli and Tamil kuli, "daily hire." The Mandarin word 苦力 (kǔlì), meaning "to exert one's abilities; heavy labour work" in Classical Chinese, may have been influenced by cognates of the above Hindi word in other languages and may have further influenced English.