: rule
especially, often capitalized : the former British rule of the Indian subcontinent
: the period of British rule in India

Did you know?

When British trading posts were established in the Indian subcontinent in the 17th century, English speakers were immersed in the rich languages of the region, and Europeans quickly began adopting local words into their own vocabularies. By the end of the 1700s, Hindi contributions to our language ran from ayah (a term for a nurse or maid) to zamindar (a collector of land taxes or revenues). When English speakers borrowed raj around 1800, they used exactly the same spelling and meaning as its Hindi parent (the Hindi word in turn traces to an older term that is related to the Sanskrit word for "king"). Other words of Hindi descent that are now common in English include chintz, pundit, bungalow, veranda, seersucker, and bandanna.

Examples of raj in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The modern spread of Christianity in India was spurred by British raj and Western missionaries, though Syrian Christians were often critical conduits. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 10 Aug. 2012 Some Indians, such as upper-caste urbanites, were loyal to the raj — British rule over India — and fought enthusiastically for the Allies, but the vast majority volunteered because they were offered land, a stable salary and steady meals. Maria Abi-Habib, New York Times, 1 Sep. 2020 There can be very little doubt that many of the labour law provisions in India are excessively intrusive, effectively help neither the workers nor the employers, and instead have strengthened license-inspector-raj and rent-seeking. Saurabh Bhattacharjee, Quartz India, 13 May 2020 The decline of the stepwell began with the British raj, which insisted baolis were unhygienic havens of vermin and disease. The Economist, 13 July 2019 The raj’s administrators were blind to their role in socialising and as subterranean caravanserais. The Economist, 13 July 2019 Theaters, dance halls, cafes, racecourses and other businesses came along to keep the upholders of the raj entertained. Payal Dhar, Washington Post, 5 July 2019 The Treasury has proposed to set up a regulatory raj for the U.S. financial system at the same time India is embracing deregulation. Peter J. Wallison, WSJ, 6 Dec. 2017 Slovak Paradise National Park (also called Slovensky raj) is loaded with user-friendly amenities and covered with signage and hiker assists. The Washington Post, The Denver Post, 5 Apr. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'raj.' 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 & Urdu rāj, from Sanskrit rājya; akin to Sanskrit rājan king

First Known Use

1781, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of raj was in 1781


Dictionary Entries Near raj

Cite this Entry

“Raj.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raj. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

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