noun, often capitalized
variants: or less commonly agha \ ˈä-​gə , ˈa-​ \
plural -s

Definition of aga

: a man of authority who bears a title of respect: such as
a : a military or civil officer in the Ottoman Empire a vast body of dragoons … under … their great aga— Jonathan Swift
b : a Turkish chief the khans … and agas … are probably the oldest landed aristocracy of the world— Harold Lamb
c : a religious leader the Aga Khan … claims descent from Fatima— H. G. Rawlinson

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First Known Use of aga

1524, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for aga

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”

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Cite this Entry

“Aga.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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