na·​bob ˈnā-ˌbäb How to pronounce nabob (audio)
: a provincial governor of the Mogul empire in India
: a person of great wealth or prominence

Did you know?

In India's Mogul Empire, founded in the 16th century, provincial governors carried the Urdu title of nawāb. In 1612, Captain Robert Coverte published a report of his "discovery" of "the Great Mogoll, a prince not till now knowne to our English nation." The Captain informed the English-speaking world that "An earle is called a Nawbob," thereby introducing the English version of the word. Nabob, as it thereafter came to be spelled, gained its extended sense of "a prominent person" in the 18th century, when it was applied sarcastically to British officials of the East India Company returning home after amassing great wealth in Asia. The word was perhaps most famously used by Vice President Spiro Agnew, in a 1970 speech written by William Safire, when he referred to critical members of the news media as "nattering nabobs of negativism."

Examples of nabob in a Sentence

dressed conservatively so as to make a good impression with the nabobs on the co-op's board
Recent Examples on the Web Nattering nabobs of non-mainstream media might call it assault by beverage. Pat Beall, Orlando Sentinel, 14 July 2024 The Gold Coast once held the highest concentrations of American wealth, and today, the area remains an upscale part of Long Island, with many of those centuries-old homes of Gilded Age nabobs still intact. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 20 Mar. 2024 Chattering nabobs of negativity have highlighted that 66 Chinese companies are being removed from indices. Brendan Ahern, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 This oilman here was not a nabob like Doheny, but his L.A. oil scandal was going on at the same time. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2023 Woody Allen, Elaine May and Larry David have all done it, turning these people into shouting caricatures, guilt givers and nabobs of neuroses. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, 11 May 2020 All those nattering nabobs of negativism in the press were certainly guaranteed to give this speech the back of the hand, right? Jamie Dupree,, 31 Jan. 2018 If Tebow does not in fact disagree with Jeffress on any of these points, then his decision looks like nothing more than craven capitulation to the nattering nabobs of negativism and intolerance. Robert Klemko,, 17 Aug. 2017 My, oh my, sounds like a nattering nabob of negativity. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, 11 June 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nabob.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Hindi navāb & Urdu nawāb, from Arabic nuwwāb, plural of nā'ib governor

First Known Use

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of nabob was in 1612


Dictionary Entries Near nabob

Cite this Entry

“Nabob.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


na·​bob ˈnā-ˌbäb How to pronounce nabob (audio)
: a governor of a province of the Mogul empire in India
: a person of great wealth or importance

More from Merriam-Webster on nabob

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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