nabob

play
noun na·bob \ˈnā-ˌbäb\

Definition of nabob

  1. 1 :  a provincial governor of the Mogul empire in India

  2. 2 :  a person of great wealth or prominence

nabob was our Word of the Day on 12/14/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of nabob in a Sentence

  1. dressed conservatively so as to make a good impression with the nabobs on the co-op's board

Recent Examples of nabob from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nabob'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

In India's Mogul Empire, founded in the 16th century, provincial governors carried the Urdu title of nawab. 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 late 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."

Origin and Etymology of nabob

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


NABOB Defined for English Language Learners

nabob

play
noun

Definition of nabob for English Language Learners

  • : a very rich or important person



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up nabob? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

lacking social experience or grace

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Emoji Quiz

  • emoji-the-quiz
  • What phase of the moon is this: 🌖 ?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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