variants or less commonly agha
plural -s
often capitalized
: a man of authority who bears a title of respect: such as
: a military or civil officer in the Ottoman Empire
a vast body of dragoons … under … their great agaJonathan Swift
: a Turkish chief
the khans … and agas … are probably the oldest landed aristocracy of the worldHarold Lamb
: a religious leader
the Aga Khan … claims descent from FatimaH. G. Rawlinson

Word History


borrowed from Ottoman Turkish ağa "lord, master, respected man (in titles)," going back to Medieval Turkic, literally, "older brother," borrowed from Mongolian (Uigur-script) aqa, (Arabic-script) āqā "older brother"

First Known Use

1524, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of aga was in 1524

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near aga

Cite this Entry

“Aga.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!