1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
A native Indian clerk. The word is really a term of respect attached to a proper name, like "master" or "Mr," and Babu-ji is still used in many parts of India, meaning "sir"; but without the suffix the word itself is now generally used contemptuously as signifying a semi-literate native, with a mere veneer of modern education.
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Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Babu'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/bri/b/babu.html. 1910.